Today we made another trek out to the sugar bush, but this time to a traditional Quebec sugar bush with our good friends, Ron and Meredith and their two kids, Ella and Duncan.
We've never been to a Quebec bush before - we always go to Ontario bushes - but we've heard the rumours and let me just say... they are all true. The food is great and there is a lot of it.
It is different to the Ontario sugar bushes in that the food is served to you rather than being a buffet and it is family style. Also, you get traditional Quebec sugar bush fare, which includes split pea soup, les oreilles de crisse (smoked pig jowels - puts bacon to shame), beans of course, and dessert of maple cake and sugar pie. There is of course liquor if you choose. Needless to say, giant 1 litre bottles of maple syrup line the tables up and down.
There was also horse drawn sleigh rides, which we didn't do this time and maple taffy on the snow - another sugar bush tradition no matter what side of the River you are on.
It was all wonderful, delicious and a great way to say goodbye to this winter and welcome the spring. My only complaint was the long wait to get in (even though we had reservations). As you can see, Emily wasn't too impressed either.
I've posted photos below so you can see the food, the dining room (just big long tables - wonderfully casual, exactly as it should be), the giant bottle of maple syrup.
The kids were great throughout. Hope focussed on her sweet potatoes and spoons. Emily was immersed in her meal and even sat patiently waiting for her dessert. I was so happy with them and the result was the I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
I try hard not to let Emily's (sometimes) bad behaviour ruin outings for me/us but as much as I try, I don't often succeed. I also try not to be embarrassed by what really is typical two-year old behaviour but again, it is so hard to keep my objectivity sometimes. I imagine it's difficult for any parent and I consider myself a pretty laid back one. As much as we try, we all feel that our kids' behaviour is a direct reflection on our success as parents. Before I had kids, I was guilty of judging parents whose kids were acting out in public. John and I would both remark about the parents, how they didn't have control, or they clearly didn't set good boundaries or practise good discipline. As our friend John says, I was a much better parent before I had kids.
One thing that parenting has taught me is to not judge others based on their kids. You can be the freaking Baby Whisperer and your kid will still pee on toys in a restaurant or lay down in the church lobby and scream, or be the perfect child you know she can be. You'll parent the same way and get two different results.
So, to all you parents out there: you're doing a great job, no matter what the person at the table next to you in Starbucks is thinking.