Hurray for the Month of May!

May is finally here and we can put all that snow behind us and concentrate on important things, like Mother’s Day! This is one of Monique’s favourite days of the year. A day when it is actually supposed to be all about her, not that all the other days aren’t, but we digress. Mother’s Day can be a stressful time for many children as they try to come up with a great gift that is, let’s be honest here, better than their sibling’s gift. A gift that will impress mom without breaking the bank. After many years, Monique finally told Ali what gift she loves receiving best, an experience. What is an experience? It is the gift of time spent doing something with your child or children. One where created memories will last a lifetime. In this blog, we will share with you a couple of outings that made lasting memories for us. You can treat your mother to one of these for Mother’s Day or just hang out together on any other day of the year.

A Mother And Daughter Who Plant Together, Stay Together

Rows upon rows of beautiful Begonias at Thiel’s Greenhouses

In the little town of Bruderheim you can find a quaint little greenhouse that grew and blossomed into a magnificent location worthy of a roadtrip. Less than an hour away from Edmonton is Thiel’s Greenhouses. They have over 500 unique plants and use biocontrol methods to control pests. Biocontrol, Nadine Stielow one of Thiel’s owners, tells us, is where you use good bugs to get read of bad bugs. This is much better for our environment. What brought us out to Thiel’s? A Planting Party! Monique has a deep love of nature and gardening and was thrilled to be able to share this with Ali. Hoping that some of her green thumb would rub off on Ali.

New friends: Mom Shelley and her 3 daughters, Lysette, Alann and Alyssa

What is a Planting Party? A party where you and your friends get to choose and plant gorgeous flowers, herbs, vegetables, whatever your heart desires! Nadine invited us a couple of weeks ago to experience one. There were two other groups there having parties too. We were not surprised to find out that another of the groups was also made up of a mom, Shelley and her daughters Lysette, Alann and Alyssa. These ladies are experienced at this, they brought along all the fixings for Mimosas and snacks. They were so sweet and offered us a sparkling drink to toast the afternoon with them.

What fun we had finding out about different plants and which would be the best choice for different locations. Ali and Monique both live in downtown condos but that was not a problem. Nadine and her staff helped us choose which herbs and flowering plants were best suited for our balconies. We got to pick and plant them in pots and planters we brought from home and a few that Thiel’s gave us.

Monique holding up a Hydroponics tray of butter lettuce and Swiss chard. Look at those roots!

We also really enjoyed touring Thiel’s and learning about the greenhouse, its new hydroponics system which grows incredible fresh vegetables that you can purchase to take home and eat. We had never ever seen such beautiful and perfect lettuce heads before!

Of course we couldn’t leave without checking out the lovely gifts section they have by the till. Such unique items. Monique ended up buying a beautiful teapot filled with succulents. We both left relaxed and happy with a trunk filled with herb, flowers and vegetables planters. And armfuls of unusual varieties of lettuce. Thank you to Nadine and Thiel’s for inviting us as their special guests to experience a planting party and for all the lovely plants you sent home with us!

Some of the adorable plant holders available for purchase at Thiel’s

To book your own planting party or any other event at Thiel’s contact them at info@thielsgreenhouse.ca.

A Hidden Gem in Downtown Edmonton

Whenever either one of us travels, a “must visit” location in any city is an art gallery. We have been to the Louvre, the Tate Modern and New York’s Gugenheim just to name a few famous ones. But we also love to hunt for the lesser known ones. Every city around the world has some hidden gems that only locals know about. We decided to start looking for those in our own backyard (like the planting theme here?). While searching, we came across the Alberta Craft Gallery. The Alberta Craft Gallery is part of the Alberta Craft Council and has two locations, one in Edmonton and one in Calgary.

The Alberta Craft Council’s Edmonton Feature Craft Gallery.

The day we visited the Edmonton Gallery, they had an exhibit titled “Portraits“. It featured the works of 35 Canadian Fine Craft artists sharing stories through their art.

There were traditional weaving, metal works, works on glass, and porcelain figurines just to name a few. Some were life-size, some made us laugh like Red Deer’s Brian McArthur‘s “Self-Portrait” wearing a dunce hat, balancing a spoon on his nose. And some, like MacArthur’s clay sculpture titled “Jim Marshall” made us stop in our tracts to admire the detail of this piece, portraying an artist and his life works. Marshall was an artist who creates brick murals all around North America. This sculpture included “bricks” intertwined with Marshall’s body with a scene from his hometown on his back.

The Edmonton location of the Alberta Craft Council has two galleries, the Feature Gallery which holds 3 special exhibits per year, and Discovery Gallery which ” is dedicated to showing new works by established and emerging fine craft artists as well as small group exhibitions .” It has about 7 different exhibits per year.

Fun Fact: “The Alberta Craft Council operates the only public galleries in the province dedicated to exhibiting Craft and is Edmonton’s second largest public gallery.”

The current exhibit in the Discovery Gallery is “Art in Ubiquity – Edmonton Weavers’ Guild“. It is on until June 8th, 2019. The exhibit in the Feature Gallery “Cultivate – Instigate” will run from May 11 until August 31st 2019 and is “about the influential creatives at the forefront of post- secondary craft education in Alberta.” We highly recommend the Alberta Craft Council’s galleries. It is truly unique. Best part? It’s free!

The Alberta Craft Gallery – Edmonton Location:
10186 – 106 Street

Gallery Hours:

Monday – Saturday: 10am – 5pm
Thursday: 10am – 6pm
Closed Sunday and Statutory Holidays

Once Upon A Time, There Was This Little Café . . .

Life keeps us busy. Work, volunteering, chores, friends. We lead our own separate ones. When we get together, we love catching up on what each other has been up to. We both have different interests, love to eat, and discover new places. So when we meet over coffee or lunch, we like to take the other to one of the special cafés we have discovered. Monique has been raving for a year about Wilfred’s, this adorable Oliver neighbourhood café and bistro-bar located in one of the old Molson’s Brewery historical buildings in the new Brewery District.

As soon as you walk into Wilfred’s, you know you are somewhere special. A place that feels like you just walked into one of your childhood books. Painted and decorated in peachy-pink and coppery hues, it is bright and ethereal. On the walls are scenes taken out from what looks like pages out of Babar and Madeline. We are huge fans of those stories and enjoyed admiring them while the aromas of homemade Chai mingled with herbs floated from the kitchen, welcoming us. Right away you start to relax and anticipate the arrival of the menu.

The staff was so friendly and helpful. Explaining to us their creative food and drink menus. They try to use as much local ingredients as possible. The chef and owners create their own syrups and freshly press their juices and smoothies daily.

Ali ordered a coffee and Barley Risotto ($15.00). Monique chose the Grilled Cheese ($16) and the Chai Latte with Oat Milk. The Risotto was so tasty and perfectly prepared with roasted squash & sweet onion, cremini mushrooms, kale & pumpkin seeds. Ali was quite happy with her choice and highly recommends it. The Grilled Cheese was deliciously cheesy, filled with Gruyere and Parmesan cheese between slices of buttered sourdough bread and was served with a yummy deli pickle and house fries. Unfortunately, when the sandwich cools down, the bread gets hard and the crusts are too tough to eat as they cut into your mouth. Monique’s suggestion: Eat the crust first. The menu choices were all very tempting. They offer vegetarian, vegan and gluten free items.

Hours of Operation:

Lunch is served Monday through Friday from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Dinner is served Wednesday to Sunday from 5:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. They are located at 10429 121 St NW Edmonton, in the parking lot next to Loblaw’s City Market. Note: The restaurant is not easily accessible to the disabled.

Don’t forget to check our Upcoming Events and Activities page for more things to do in the Edmonton area!

Do you have any recommendations you would like to suggest for a mother -daughter outing or activity? Please contact us via our CONTACT page and we will try to check these out.

Note: The majority of our outings and food are paid for by ourselves. If we are a business’ guests or receive an item on the house, we mention it.

Welcome to our first Blog!

Ali is a world traveller. She has roamed the world by herself, and with her boyfriend. She has lived in London, England and in Toronto, Ontario. Monique, who has also lived abroad, loved to see her daughter follow in her footsteps and travel… but she missed her so much! Now that she has returned home to Edmonton, we are catching up on lost time. We decided to explore Edmonton and its surrounding towns and cities, looking for things adult mothers and daughters can do together. Follow us along on our adventures. We have no idea what we will find nor experience but it will be fun to do so together.

Our first blog is about the things we did on our first outing together in Edmonton. This is when we talked about our blog, what we wanted to do, and what we wanted to write about. Subscribe to it and keep up-to-date. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram too. Drop us a line to tell us about places and activities you think we should explore and share with others. We look forward to the adventure. Won’t you come along?

The Adventures Begin… Donuts, Taiwanese Food and Behind the Scenes at Winspear!

Our adventure began when Ali and her boyfriend Brett moved back to Edmonton.  While helping them unpack boxes, We talked about all the different things we wanted to do together. Of course a lot of it involved trying different places to eat as we both are what some might call “Foodies”. We just love to try new foods, restaurants and places.

Coffee and donuts are a great way to spend quality time together. Sipping on a nice cup of java while nibbling on some freshly baked treats makes for a perfect setting for conversation.

We discussed our plans for our blog over some donuts picked up at Destination Donuts on 124 Street. It was the second time Monique had tried their wares. The majority of their fancy donuts are created using regular honey dips with a variety of interesting toppings such as Oreo Cookies, S’Mores, Crème Brulée and Lemon Meringue. This time around we tried the Morning Sunshine and the Cinnamon donuts. Our advice?  Share one, not two as we did. Our eyes were bigger than our stomachs. These donuts are large, pretty rich and greasy. The Morning Sunshine had a thick meringue topping and was filled with sweet lemon jelly. The Cinnamon donut was a fritter with swirls of cinnamon sugar running throughout. We split each in half and could not finish them. But we certainly made lots of plans!

Have You Ever Tried Taiwanese Food?

In a shopping strip mall, on the south side of Edmonton, snuggled between an Iraqi sundries shop and bakery and an East Indian boutique, is a tiny little Taiwanese restaurant by the name of Formosa Bistro. It is bright and open, the owners and staff are extremely friendly, and the food is to die for! It has become one of Monique’s favourite places to get together with friends for a meal. It was obviously a no brainer for her to want to take Ali there.

Formosa means beautiful. Jeango, one of the owners, told us that Formosa Bistro was named after Taiwan’s former name, Ilha Formosa – Beautiful Island. This quaint restaurant is a local secret, but definitely not for long. It has won national and local awards for best Taiwanese restaurant in Canada and for best Popcorn Chicken in Edmonton. After trying several of their dishes, created by their amazing Taiwanese chef, we both had to agree that it more than deserved the accolades.

Popcorn Chicken
Sweet Potato Fries

When you go, you must absolutely try the Popcorn Chicken. It is moist and extremely flavourful. A delight to one’s taste buds.  It came with a Taiwanese take on Kimchi. This cabbage and root vegetable pickled dish is quite tasty with a bit less of a kick than the Korean version. We also ordered the Sweet Potato Fries, these are not your red yam variety, but real sweet potatoes. They tasted just like mini donuts. We kid you not. Same taste, less calories. Okay, maybe not less calories but they are veggie calories. Tasty, veggie calories.

Ali loves noodles so we had to try one of these dishes from their menu. We chose the Braised Pork Noodles. What incredible rich broth, tender pork and tasty noodles. A mouth-watering dish we are sure to re-order on our next visit.

Braised Pork Noodles

Jeango brought us a special treat she wanted us to try out, Thick Cut Toast with Custard. It is really a traditional breakfast dish but is sweet enough to be served as dessert. A thick cream and butter layer spread on sliced Taiwanese fluffy white bread. So good!

Cheers

We found Taiwanese food to be less greasy than other Asian countries’ dishes. They use different spices and most items on the menu are not “hot”. For those who do like a bit more bite to their food, there are several dishes that will meet your wishes. We will definitely be returning to Formosa Bistro and highly recommend that you give it a try.

Formosa Bistro has a few special events coming up in the next few weeks. The first is a puppet demonstration by Shinergy Puppet Show which “combines the traditional puppet show with high quality animation and visual effect technology. Tickets are $15.00 per person for the May 19th morning show, and you will be credited that amount towards your meal at the Bistro. The offer is in effect until June 9, 2019. You can purchase tickets online via their Facebook Page.

Formosa Bistro is located at 9314 – 34 Ave NW, Edmonton Alberta

Behind the Scenes at the Winspear Centre

Ali and Monique above the Winspear Centre Hall stage

Did you know that the Winspear Centre offers free behind the scenes weekday tours of their facility? When we found out, we just had to sign up for one. All you have to do is call them or register online for one of their monthly tours. These tours also include a light lunch that you get to enjoy in the performers’ Green Room. Did we mention that it is free? The tour, including lunch, lasts between one to one and a half hours and takes you to various levels of this incredible building. Each tour is a bit different as not all the halls and rooms are available to visit each time due to various performances that are either rehearsing or using the facilities.

We found out during our tour that the Winspear Centre and ESO ( Edmonton Symphony Orchestra) are not for profit. Money raised goes to fund special events, camps and community music programs for kids and adults. Construction will soon begin to expand the Centre and add a 650 seat music box music hall, classroom space, a restaurant, and more.

Staff at the Winspear Library

Valerie and Michelle took us behind the main concert hall and showed us where 3 separate buildings connect to make up what appears to us to be the single building Winspear Centre. They are connected by soundproof foam to ensure that the LRT line that runs below it does not cause noise that will affect the concerts being performed.

We also visited the Library where staff are responsible for all sheet music used in performances. They verify copyrights, ordering what is needed for performances, look for possible music errors in the sheet music received, etc. Others also use the Library for research, such as the Edmonton Opera who perform out of the Edmonton Jubilee Auditorium.

Davis Concert Organ


We then followed Valerie and Michelle up to the Davis Concert Organ and its’ 6551 pipes. We will not share with you everything we learned, you will need to check it out for yourselves. But we will tell you that the tour involves a “live” organ performance… Such a thrill when you are sitting right in front of it!

This was Monique’s second tour experience. We will both be returning to tour it again as we want to find out more! We hear that the Rolling Stones made history there…

Ali taking a picture of the Edmonton Valley Zoo’s carousel animal display in the Winspear Centre lobby

To find out more about the Winspear Centre’s behind the scenes tours, you may contact Michelle at mjones@winspearcentre.com.

Coming Up Next

Our next blog will include a Planting Party at Thiel’s Greenhouses in Bruderheim, a visit to a local café and diner, and a gem of a hidden local craft & art gallery.

Do you have any recommendations you would like to suggest for a mother -daughter outing or activity? Please contact us via our CONTACT page and we will try to check these out.

Note: The majority of our outings and food are paid for by ourselves. If we are a business’ guests or receive an item on the house, we mention it.