Yep, I have nine year old boy. I’m so not ready for this… like some days I feel nine myself. But celebrating him last weekend made me feel so old. So, even if I’m not nine, I do NOT feel like the 39 that’s coming up a in a few weeks!
We spent about 10 days celebrating him! No, I’m serious. And he loved it. We were supposed to host his bday party on the Saturday and then Thursday night we were talking about cancelling it because of a major storm that was coming in. And then I had the brilliant idea to have it the next day instead. So with zero decorations done, no cakes and no food, I hopped into my car, went to Walmart, bought a load of crap and then got it done. Within 4 hours, I had done 2 cakes, prep food, blew about 50 balloons, hung pictures, made a chalkboard and called my mom for reinforcement for the washing-dishes-duty.
Next morning, Liam woke up in a Dog Man universe and he was ecstatic. He was so happy to wake up to a fully decorated house and also that he didn’t have to wait another day for his bday party. And this made me super happy. It hasn’t been the easiest of year for him… he’s dealing with severe social anxiety (something I usually don’t talk too much about), so it’s not always easy for him and by time we’ve struggled. School is very hard, the pressure he’s putting on himself is awful and seeing him feeling like he’s not good enough for anything is heartbreaking. So having some time just for him and celebrating him was just the best.
So after work we hurried back home to put the final touch on the party planning and then waited for our guest. He had chosen the Dog Man party theme because he’s obsessed with the comic books. I think he’s read them 50 times each. So when I suggested it as a party, he was hooked!
The best part of the night was when he went around and asked everyone for a one on one Photo Booth picture for them to remember his party. It was so great to see him ask everybody for a picture, something that is so easy for some to do but for him takes so much courage. And then we made a mosaic of the Polaroid so he could have everyone he loves in one picture.
Celebrating my babies is definitely one of my favorite thing in the world and I will never stop. What do you want, I celebrate everything: good days, an awesome movie, a stuff animal we love or any other days that need a bit more magic.
I’ve read a Chrismas-y quote somewhere and it really captured me, so I’m sharing it with you. “As a grown-up, I’ve learned that all the Christmas magic I felt as a kid was really a mom who loved me so damn much”. That’s basically how I feel. I will never stop believing in magic and I sure hope my boys will never stop either.
So, to my baby boy: I love you so much just the way you are. And always remember, a beautiful thing is never perfect.
Our Christmas holidays are coming to an end and even if I wish this magic could last forever, I feel rested and ready for the New Year!
We’ve been off school and work for the last 16 days and what a break it was. As always, it was jam-packed with so many things to do and places to go, yet, this year, we took the time to take more after-dinner walks, watch more movies and play more board games than during any other winter break.
December is always a busy month for us, but still probably my favorite of them all. We had various Christmas parties throughout the month prior to the actual Holiday seasons: our annual friends Christmas dinner (or should I say our annual dance party) at my friend Vero’s, our annual Lamoureux family Christmas dinner at our place, my aunt famous spaghetti night party and so on. By Christmas Eve, the kids and I were already pros at staying out late and having fun! So the festivities started with a fondue dinner at my mother-in-law, followed by Christmas Eve celebrations at my father-in-law, where the boys got a little suspicious about Santa when he walked in: “Santa looks different”. Not sure what I responded to that but Santa was very good with them, telling them both that he had already went to their place in Rockland and left something there they really wanted, so the magic worked perfectly in the end. Then, not too long after Santa left, Brian’s cousin Gary rejoined the party downstairs. Don’t know what’s up with him, but he misses Santa every year, I guess they can’t be seen in the same room at the same time, or something like that! Hopefully he’ll miss it one more time next year, that’s all I hope for, just one more year of all this magic with Santa…
So we got home at like 3am and we were all up by 8 to open up some more presents. Santa had eaten the cookies, drank the milk, brought back our Elf Willy with him (Willy should be back on December 1st, 2020), and had brought some more stuffed animals for the boys – I swear we have more than 300 now. As for me, I got the best gift ever, not sure if it was from Santa or Brian, but I am in love with my new SMEG espresso machine… she is a beauty and a perfect match for my new kitchen – I’ll do the kitchen reveal with before and after pictures later this month, I promise.
So since we had previously booked another family trip to Disney for next March break, I wanted to find a fun way to tell them on Christmas morning that we were going to Disney again… Last time I tried to surprise the boys with a Disney trip was actually a total disaster, as they didn’t get it and were quite confused about the stuffed Mickey Mouse they had just received. But I decided to try again, this time with something different and a little more to the point. So I had a custom puzzle made of a picture we took of them right in front of the Magic Kingdom castle during our last trip. Each presents under the tree had a piece of the puzzle on it, so they had to gradually complete the puzzle as we were opening presents, with the last two pieces being them in front of the castle, so they could connect the dots that ‘they’ were going back to Disney. With a few nudges they finally got it. They were happy, maybe not like you see in You Tube videos, but happy nonetheless! I will take it as it was definitely better than last time I tried to surprise them. And I will enjoy and treasure everything leading up to this trip, cause just like Christmas magic, you never know when they will outgrow the Peter Pan magic. Not now please, just one more year, that’s all I hope for…
Christmas Day was slow and lazy, drinking lattes by the tree and having French onion soup for lunch with my mom and Frank. We played games with the boys all afternoon long while waiting for our guests to arrive. We had an amazing diner and we chatted until late at night. What a beautiful day it was. Then Liam made it either better, or worse, still not sure, when he told me, as I was about to close the light so he could go to sleep, that he had the best Christmas ever and couldn’t wait for next year as Christmas was his favorite day of the year. He definitely made it better, yes, Christmas was perfect this year.
The next few days were spent cuddling, taking walks in the snow, building snow forts and playing more games. We also saw the new Jumanji movie in the theatre and the boys (meaning Brian as well) are now obsessed with the movies and have been watching the new and old ones in loops! We’ve also been binge watching The Office every night until way past my bed time so I have no idea how I’ll get back to my regular schedule as of tomorrow morning!
We always spend NYE with our friends Vero, Mat and their two girls. Back in the days where we didn’t have kids, we used to find classy parties where we would dress up for the occasion, but, oh, not anymore! Our new tradition is to go on a sleigh ride in the afternoon and then spend the evening in our pajamas. So this year we found the most amazing sleigh ride not too far away from home, and it was MAGICAL. With fresh snow falling, we strolled in the most gorgeous sleigh to the sound of sleigh bells, just us, two beautiful horses going through trees covered with snow. This was the best thing I’ve done during my holidays for sure. The Bedard Brunet Family Farm sleigh ride was amazing and peaceful, and I truly recommend them. We will be booking another sleigh ride this winter and we’ve also been talking about going again in the summer. They were telling us about a wagon ride in the forest during the summer, and I just can’t wait to see that. They were so friendly and fun, they even joined in when the kids started singing Christmas carols. I’m obsessed with sleigh rides and this one was definitely the best we have ever had. Thanks again for this wonderful time, we’ll see you soon.
We then headed home for some raclette, movies for the kids (Jumanji, of course) and a late night dance party. We rang the New Year with our best friends, just like we had done in 2010 and 2000, and it was perfect.
So now, the beginning of a new decade, the third one that I’m starting by Brian’s side, and the first one that I’m starting as a mother… and for this one, we have so many plans, and hopes, and dreams, and it’s going to be a great one, I can feel it. This is our time, and we’ll make the best of it. In 2020’s, even if the world around me won’t stop going like a thousand miles per hour, I want to learn to slow down a little, to take a minute, to enjoy what I have and to live in the moment, spending as much time as I can with my family and with the ones I love.
Hope you had the best holiday season, wishing you all health and happiness in the year to come.
Guess what is the best thing about placing a Christmas pyjamas pick-up order at Target? The weekend getaway that comes with it! My husband is always the first in when it comes to going away for the weekend or for the occasional last minute road trip. So when I told him I had to pick up my Target order in Watertown the upcoming weekend, he said ‘why don’t we go spend the weekend in Lake Placid and pick up your things on the way back?’ He didn’t have to twist my arm! Cause two days later we were picking up the kids early and leaving for the mountains.
The usual drive in the Adirondack is breathtaking, but that day, the sky was filled with clouds and high winds, so it was dark and cloudy, making our drive the longest ever. Once we arrived, we unpacked, took a swim and then went out for a late dinner.
We ended up at Smoke Signals and it was simply perfect. Some of the best ribs I’ve ever had in my life! It was so nice to be away just the four of us, and Smoke Signals was the perfect place for a late night family dinner. It’s such a nice place, with a relaxing vibe, exactly what I was looking for after a long car ride. We then took a stroll down Main Street, even if everything was closed, it was just nice to be out. Back at our hotel, we took another swim and then put on our pj’s and lounged in front of a massive fireplace in the lobby. That made everyone very happy, as we had a great time playing iPads and reading books.
On Saturday, we took a hike! Oh yes we did… our first EVER hike! To say we were not totally prepared for what we had gotten ourselves into would be the understatement of the year. We wore our huge winter coats (first mistake!), we wore some old sneakers and winter boots (second mistake), and we actually thought we could climb to the top (jokes is on us!). All in all, I would say we still did pretty well, even if we didn’t get to the top, given the circumstances… It was getting very icy past the halfway mark, and hikers (who looked like professional hikers) told us on their way back that it would get tricky and dangerous for the boys at some point, with all the ice. Icy or not, the boys were getting a little tired, so we reached about two thirds of Mount Baker, which brought us high enough for some great pictures and to give us a challenge next time we visit Lake Placid. If the conditions would’ve been better, I believe we would have made it. Still, I’m calling this a success. I was so proud of us! We will be back to Mount Baker, and we will get to see the top, mark my words.
After that adventure of ours, we went back to the hotel, enjoyed the pool for about an hour, and then headed out for lunch at Mirror Lake Inn’s, The Cottage. I fell in love with this tiny restaurant 2 years ago when we visited MLI for the Lake Placid Holiday Village Stroll, so when Brian asked me ‘what about spending the weekend in Lake Placid’ a few days earlier, I said yes, but only if we are going to The Cottage. Cozy, laid back and on the water, you feel at ease right away and you might be tempted to stay there all day. Our food was delicious, and even though the boys were a bit moody and tired, we had a great time once again. We then crossed over to the other side to the Mirror Lake Inn lobby, went in, and sat in the lounge a little, which was definitely our favorite thing to do when we stayed there. Brian and the boys went for a little walk through the hotel trying to find our room while I sat by the fireplace. They came back and the first thing they said was that we should come here every winter, as this is their favorite place ever. I truly wish we could, because this is also one of my favorite place ever.
We left MLI and then took another stroll on Main Street, stopping in a few boutiques along the way. Had some popcorn and lattes and just enjoyed being together in lovely and cozy Lake Placid.
By the end of the afternoon, we were all exhausted! So we took a nap and woke up refreshed and ready to hit the bowling alley! We had never played with the large bowling balls, so it was quite a challenge and not what the boys had in mind going there. We basically left in tears because we had played so badly, but we still had a blast. We then went back to Main Street to find some place for dinner. We didn’t really know where to go, so Brian picked a place and it ended up that I had one of the best burger I ever had. The Adirondack Brewing Company simply feels like a large cozy cabin… one where you want to go eat a burger at! We had a perfect table next to a window looking out at the outdoor fireplace. Like I said, one of the best burgers of my life… but not only good, also so big that Brian stopped eating his delicious ribs in order to finish my leftovers! We will definitely be back and this time we will definitely order the same thing. So just like that, it was time to go back to our hotel and relax once again by the fireplace before going to bed, as we were heading out to Target early in the morning.
We left the next morning in a snow storm, with no winter tires and two anxious little boys that couldn’t stop asking ‘are we there yet’, referring to Target, not home. It took us at least an hour more than anticipated to get there due to the snow, but we did, we picked up our Christmas pyjamas and a few more goodies from our favorite store and then decided to drive back home right away since the storm was following us!
We are in LOVE with Lake Placid. I can hardly wait to be back. If you are looking to go, you should look into the December 13-15 weekend, just in time for this year’s Lake Placid Holiday Village Stroll. This is the exact same weekend we went two years ago and it was definitely the best time of the year to visit Lake Placid. It was one of the best Christmas experience of my life, thanks to Mirror Lake Inn. If you want to read more about the Mirror Lake Inn or the Holiday Village Stroll, here’s my blog post from two years ago. You will want to go and you will want to visit the Mirror Lake Inn. See you next year Lake Placid!
And just like that, October’s gone and it’s already the Holiday Season! So bring me all the chunky knitted hats, oversized scarves, reading socks and matching pajamas you can find. I really have a soft spot for matching pajamas, so when you mix it up with a Christmas theme, you get me totally obsessed!
So to make things easy for you, I’ve shopped all the best website to find you this season’s best. You’re welcome!
1- Little Drummer Pajama: Gap always delivers, and this year again, their holiday catalogue is awesome. The only down point is they don’t have these cute pj’s in adult size. But if you have a toddler, this pajama is definitely perfect for him! Also, Gap has the best sales. I never buy anything that’s not 40% off. Just subscribe to their email and you’ll never miss on another deal.
2- Pink Santa: PINK and SANTA. Need I say more? You won’t find a better deal! Run, don’t walk, run to get this one before they’re all gone!
3- Charlie Brown: Call me nostalgic if you want, but you could get me the saddest Christmas tree and I would still be very happy as long as I have this pajama. This one is on the more expensive side, but remember, it’s not what’s under the Christmas tree that matters, it’s who’s around it… and the pj they’re wearing!
4- Harry Potter: Did you really think I would pass on HP because this is a Christmas blog? Oh no, I definitely wouldn’t. Especially not when this Harry Potter pajama would make the perfect Christmas morning outfit. Who’s with me on that one? This Mini Boden HP line is to die for, go check it out by yourself!
5- Ski Lifts: So cute and these can last all winter long. Just picture it, cute pj’s, a fireplace and a cabin. I should maybe link a cottage rental as well here. Petit Lem has been a favorite of ours since Liam was a baby. The quality is AMAZING, they’re so soft, and the keep their shape and doesn’t peel. Best purchase you can make! You definitely won’t regret it.
6-Baby Griswold: This makes me want another baby! A baby a la Christmas Vacation. So adorable, you definitely need to get this for your baby’s first Christmas! If your babies are not babies anymore, like mines, well you’ll be happy to know they also comes in sizes up to 7. So all the kiddos can match, and the mommy too! Of course I already bought that one for me!
7- Sleigh all day: Burt’s Bees steels my heart every year with their simple and timeless pieces. I’m in love with this one. Size 0 to 5t. And available at… TARGET! Just one more reason to place an order!
8-Rugby Striped Pajamas: So here’s our 2019 Christmas pajamas. I’ve been eyeing these pj’s forever and finally decided to make the call. These will be cute year round and will match my Christmas décor perfectly, which is all that matters, right? Joking! They are actually perfect, the boys love them, and the intended up-and-down at Target to pick them up turned into a weekend road trip to Lake Placid, which was a great way to start our winter.
9-Stockings PJ: Adorable! But still, it kills me that I can’t justify buying this one. Makes me want a pink tree and everything girly. Hatley is super durable and high quality. Tell me which little girl wouldn’t want to go to bed wearing this on the 24th?
Now, all you have to do is to make yourself a cup of cocoa, put on some Christmas music and shop the night away!
The countdown is ON! In less than a week it’s HALLOWEEN, and we can hardly wait!!!
It was touch and go for a while, and the boys were getting impatient about their costumes, wondering if they would be done in time. Don’t worry boys, as long as you love Halloween the way you do now, I will continue to do everything I need to do to make sure your costumes are done on time for the 31st!
So last weekend, on Sunday afternoon, I was finally able to start working on them.
Our theme this year is POKEMON! Probably a common theme for households that have 7 or 8 years old boys! Being the Halloween freak that I am, of course I needed to make them… but this year I cheated a little, as I got some help from Party City for Logan’s. Liam is, of course, Pikachu, while Logan chose another fan favorite, Bulbasaur. I wanted to dress up for them as a Team Rocket member, but time wasn’t on my side this year with the kitchen reno and stuff, so I will have to go as myself.
So I bought two 6$ fleece blankets from Walmart, one yellow and one blue, used a one piece pajama, laid it flat on the blankets, traced it, cut it and sewed it! For Logan, I used a backpack from Party City and stuffed it with a pillow, and for Liam I came up with a Pikachu face for the hoodie, and just like that, voila, the two costumes were done.
They are now living in their costumes, so I’m not sure exactly if they’ll last until the 31st, but they are having a blast living each day like it’s Halloween, and so am I, cause obviously watching them dressing up makes my heart happy.
We are almost ready for next week… all I have to do is to carve our pumpkins, make trick or treat bags and sip a few more Pumpkin Spice Lattes!
So I swore to myself that I would be better at blogging this fall. Well that was a total fail. Last time I posted something was after our Boston trip which already seems to have happened so long ago, sometime last summer. Well fall isn’t over, so let’s do this.
Fall is usually my favorite season, yet, this year, it feels like it’s simply slipping by while I didn’t get a chance to do all the things I wanted to do. So here’s what happened in the last few months:
SCHOOL: A month and a half later, it feels like we are finally getting our groove back! I won’t lie, last year was HARD. Like really, really hard. Long story short, second grade was terrible for Liam. His anxiety went from being a subtle on and off thing to being at an all-time high and all over the place. He was in such a bad place at some point we hardly recognized him. But summer was great, and he got to recharge fully (and so did I), and he was so ready to tackle 3rd grade. Things are way better for him now, and we finally feel like we can all breathe again. He’s got an amazing teacher and some great support at school, as well as some great friends, and we are so thankful that he seems happy again. Keep up the good work! And our Logan… well it’s like Loggy being Loggy, days in, days out! He loves school, he loved finally having some homework to do like his big brother (this new found love actually lasted for about 5 minutes), he’s friend with everyone and he’s just a happy go getter. Crossing my fingers that things keep on looking up for him the way it has so far.
BEAU’S OKTOBERFEST: What a great time we had. Another EPIC weekend in Vankleek Hill for us. Probably one of the best one ever, yet! We partied hard with our best friends Mathieu and Vero on Friday night, which means we stayed way past my pre-set curfew for the Friday night, but in the end, it was all worth it! We shared so much food… it’s crazy how much food we end up eating every year during that weekend. I only go for the food, and boy oh boy did Oktoberfest delivered this year again! Just writing about it makes me hungry. Let’s just say walking back to the car wasn’t easy with two drunks while I felt completely stuffed. On Saturday, we were joined by Karine and Catherine, our Oktoberfest annual and forever buddies… We should actually write a book of ALL the things that happened through the years at Oktoberfest. We had the craziest time this year again. So much I want to share, yet, some of it probably un-sharable! So, as for the food, this year’s first place definitely goes to the Cheshire Cat Pub’s Reuben Sandwich and the Malted Milk Chocolate Peanut Dip Bar from Pascale’s Ice Cream. If you were at Beau’s Oktoberfest and didn’t try any of these two items, then what’s the point of even going? Seriously, you need to go to Beau’s Oktoberfest and try both of these next year!!!
KITCHEN: Nervous breakdowns happened on every Sunday for the last month. Why? Because we’re in the midst of our kitchen renos. Yep! And it’s been quite the challenge to say the least. Patience being one of my strong suits… NOT, definitely made this a more challenging project than I thought it would be. We had the backsplash removed, the wall prepped, the counter removed and then a new one installed and the new backsplash installed by Granstone, and until then, the project was going smoothly and the results were simply amazing. Then, it was our turn to take our wooden cabinets and paint them white. Sounds like a simple task, right? Well no, it isn’t! So we removed our 50 doors and drawers, washed and primed them as per the sales lady had told me when I bought the primer. FAIL… such an EPIC FAIL. The paint was peeling off and so was my sanity. We asked our friends who had re-done their kitchen and they confirmed that NO, it’s probably impossible to do this without sanding first. Pretty sure they thought I was stupid when I told them I had bought this primer who would do the job without even sanding first. Ugghhh!!! So we had to scrape the primer off of every door, sand everything, and then start all over again. Let’s just say I’ve literally painted and swore at my cabinet doors every single day over the past month. Now, finally, for the last few days we’ve been installing them back on, and it looks sooo good! My new kitchen is AMAZING, and just how I had imagined it would be: so white and so bright, and I am in love with it! Definitely more to follow on that as soon as we’re completely done!
HP TRAIN: You all know how Harry Potter obsessed we are. So when I found out about a HP train ride in the Ottawa region, I signed us up. For five bucks each… let’s say I was not expecting much. Boy was I wrong. Of course we showed up wearing our finest HP gear and we were so happy we did. The Smith Falls Train Museum was totally transformed by magic and to say we had a blast is an understatement. Local vendors, photo booth, a Quidditch game with brooms, a cupcake vendor that was simply amazing as well as a short but awesome train ride. We didn’t wanted to leave. It was the best 5$ I’ve spent this fall for sure. I can hardly wait for next year to visit again. Zero expectation turned out to be the best Saturday for all of us. And a quick shout-out to the Black Lory who sold us the cutest handmade HP dolls. Liam got a snitch while Logan got the hippogriff. I didn’t get any, but kind of regretted not buying the Luna doll, so that same night I placed an order online for one, and then decided to get the Sirius Black as well while I was at it! This will make great Halloween gifts for the boys. They will be so excited when they see them. So two thumbs up for the Smith Falls Train Museum, we will definitely be back next year. Check out for the Christmas train as well, you just might see us there!
PUMPKIN PATCH: It’s mid-October and until a few days ago, there were still no pumpkin in front of my house. This is sooo not me! So on Saturday morning, first thing, I told the boys we were going to the Pumpkin Patch to get ourselves some pumpkins, which is something they actually love doing as much as I do. Since I’ve heard about this place in Gatineau about 3 years ago, I don’t think I could ever go anywhere else to get our pumpkins, even if it’s like close to an hour from home. Courges & Cie is simply the best, with the most beautiful pumpkins and squash, the best pumpkins donuts and pumpkins poutine, with some play structures for the kids, and everything you need to entertain the whole family for a few hours while picking up your pumpkins directly from the pumpkin patch.
So now that the leaves have turned, the nights are a bit colder and the day a bit crispier, it’s time to relax and enjoy the moment, and light up my new favorite pumpkin pecan waffles candle, drink some PSL while wearing my new favorite reading socks and start cooking some tasty fall meals in my new favorite kitchen. Enjoy fall everyone, I know I will.
We were NOT supposed to go to Boston this summer. I repeat, we were NOT supposed to visit Boston. I actually made myself pretty clear that I wanted to skip Boston this summer. But the power of being outnumbered definitely won this one! So we went to Boston.
We had already planned our summer road trips (you can read about our trips to Picton and Kingston), but then at Logan’s bday party, we started chatting about a shopping trip that turned into a “Let’s go to Boston” trip.
So right after I lost that one, being the planner that I am, I started looking for new things to do in Boston, since it was like our 8th or 9th trip there in the last 12 years. Well, even after all these trips, we realised that there were still so many new things to do or discover! We spent 3 days in Boston and went to so many new places, and old, like Fenway Park!
Oh, I’ve decided that instead of sharing our itinerary, I would share our favorite spots in beautiful Boston.
1- Fenway Park: Home of the Boston Red Sox, America’s Most Beloved Ballpark, and Brian’s favorite place in the world. Of course this is the number one on my list!!! Fenway is THE reason why we visited Boston in the first place in 2007 and definitely one of the top reasons why we fell in love with the City of Boston. And coming from a non-baseball-fan, I gotta say, Fenway Park is something else. We’ve been to more than 20 games over the years and we will keep on going to some more every time we will visit Boston, cause even if I hate baseball, I have to go to Fenway if I’m in Boston. This is the oldest ballpark in the U.S. and it has so much history and charm that you can’t help but falling in love the moment you see it. From the tail gating around the stadium, the Green Monster, the delicious foods and beers, the people, the music and the entire stadium singing Sweet Caroline in the 8th inning, I’m telling you, you want to go to Fenway. Go Sox!
2- Boston Common: Probably my favorite place to be in Boston. It’s like a peaceful heaven in the middle of this huge city. The trees and flowers are splendid. You can walk for hours, have a picnic or listen to artist playing. But my favorite way to enjoy the scenery is definitely by taking the Swan Boat ride. A 4$ ride in a large peddle driven boat that circles a pond in the middle of the park. Best 4$ EVER spent, make that 8$, I’ve ridden it twice now!
3- Food: If you know me, well you know that I would travel far just to try amazing food, and Boston never fails to meet my expectations when it comes to food. Some of our favs: Maggiano’s, our favorite restaurant in the city. You have to get the mozzarella sticks and the crème brûlée AND the gnocchi’s. Basically, just get everything on the menu and you won’t be disappointed! Also, a mention to Starbucks, which you can find every 100 steps from everywhere you are, including from my hotel room! We’ve also had a really great time and food at Cheers. You should add it to your list, just for nostalgia! We’ve been to Boston so many times and so many people recommended different places, but we just love our Maggiano’s and Cheesecake Factory so much that it is very difficult to try new things. Next time thought, we’ll do it. I am making myself a promise that we’ll do it!
4- Trolley Tours: We did our first trolley tour of Boston this year (for less than 20$ per person on Groupon) and I couldn’t recommend it more. This was sooo awesome! We ventured to places we had never visited and we loved it. The trolley drivers are the best tour guides, as they know so much about the history of the city and love to share fun and quirky personnel stories. Brian’s favorite quote was ‘’so here’s the only pub in America where you can actually enjoy a cold Sam Adams in front of a cold Sam Adams’’. Yeah, there’s like a cemetery on the other side of the road and that’s where Sam Adam was buried. I guess it was funnier with the Boston accent! So here’s the link of the trolley, you should try it. Our favorite stops were definitely the USS Constitution, a War of 1812 navy ship which looks like the Black Pearl as well as the Boston Common.
5- Salem: I know Salem isn’t Boston per say, BUT I have to include it in my list. What’s not to love for a Halloween addict like me? Magic, mysteries, century old cemetery and so much more. If I have one recommendation, visit during the month of October. You will be blown away. Have a coffee and a sweet treat at Gulu-Gulu Café, lunch at Boston Burger Company (in Salem) for a crazy delicious burger and drinks and diner at Howling Wolf Taqueria. Amazing margaritas and guac! You won’t be sorry but you may get tipsy if you drink 4 margs in an hour like Brian did! So much to do during the month of October, check online when you’re planning your road trip. We once went in early October during the Food Truck Festival –hello awesome– and we all loved it!
6- Harvard Square: My husband probably wish that our boys will attend Harvard University for his own selfish reason of being close to the Sox. I, on the other hand, only want to enjoy Harvard Square without the tuition fees! Best thing to do, get yourself a cup of coffee and so some people watch! Another fav from my husband, play a game of chess in the park. Also, this year, we found the cutest gift and flower shop, Petali, with a Harry Potter theme. So yep, I fell in love and crossed the street without even looking if there were cars coming the moment I saw it. They even gift wrapped our purchase for the boys in the cutest HP style. You now have my undying love! I just want to go back and buy the Luna sunglasses and the wrapped owl. Maybe next year!!! Also, Harvard students are offering tours, which we never did but look fun, so we may try this next time we’re around.
7- Quincy Market: A great place to try out a variety of food, snacks and drinks. Hello Magnolia Bakery, I love you too! My niece Noemie and I left Brian and Jojo on a terrace where they serve margs and went on a shopping spree. There are so many cute one of a kind shops as well as many top brand stores all together. Wish we hadn’t had plans later that day so I could catch the outdoor movie (it was Mamma Mia!) that Quincy Market was hosting. Once again, check their website prior to visiting. You never know what’s happening at Quincy. From there, you can do the Freedom Trail, walk to the Boston Aquarium or play in the city splash pad like Logan did last year!
8- New England Aquarium: We brought the boys last year and we were in awe. Huge and interesting exhibits, fun layouts with hands-on zones and outdoors shows/learning experiences. Our favorite was the rays’ exhibit for sure. I do recommend you buy your tickets in advance and hit the aquarium first time in the morning as it gets crowded really fast and the line-ups gets super long. And then have lunch by the harbor where the view is stunning. There’s also a whale watching tour available on site. Would totally do this if I weren’t scared shitless of whales (one of my secret shame from the first time I watched Free Willy!)
9-Bike Ride: During one of our first trip to Boston, we parked our car far from Fenway Park, visited downtown a bit, and then decided on a whim to hitch a ride from a bike carriage to get to the ball park. We had so much fun and laughed like (and probably looked like) two idiots… although we thought we were going to die before we’d get there, going through traffic and in between cars. Definitely something fun and different to visit the city. You also need to try this in NYC – it so much fun but careful as you may have a heart attack!
Oh Boston, we love you. So much things do to, yet we always seems to go back and hit our favourite spots. Next time, my plan is to catch a game, eat good food and make a day trip to Cape Cod! If you haven’t already, you really do need to add Boston as one of your next destinations. The possibilities are endless and so is the fun! Boston, you’ve been awesome to us, and you never disappoint, so I guess we’ll see you soon… and just like they say in the song at Fenway, ‘’Oh, Boston, you’re my home’’!
After spending 2 beautiful days in PEC, we decided to add another destination to our short but awesome Ontario road trip: Kingston. I like to think that I’ve travelled a bit, yet, I had never visited Kingston before, which is like two hours away from home. Brian had gone there once for work before and he loved it, so we decided to go.
We had spent the first few days of our trip just the four of us, but my Mom and Frank were joining us for this leg of the trip. Now that we were 6, we decided to try an Airbnb instead of two hotel rooms. We went back and forth trying to figure out where to stay, and man oh man did I made the right choice. I’m so glad we decided to go with my pick! Hello AMAZING!
We arrived in Kingston around lunch time and decided to have lunch on the terrace at The Kingston Brewing Company. With a view on the water, delicious homemade food, craft beers and drinks, we had the perfect start to our time in Kingston. After lunch we decided to simply walk around and explore, which included sitting by the water while Logan was running around trying to scare the seagulls. We booked a trolley tour for the next day and then walked to our home away from home. I call this home because I was sooo pretending that I lived there! A 175 years old, 3 storey stone house, full of character, with unique features which are just too crazy amazing to explain. We took a few pictures but they really don’t do the house any justice. If you’re ever in the Kingston region and you need a place to stay… the Captain Burn’s house is definitely where you want to go!
The boys needed to blow some steam before diner so we took them to the Mini-Golf and Go-Kart track. Of course, the child sitting with me lost the race which then turned into a meltdown, but we still managed to have a blast!
Diner at Olivea was simply perfect. All of our pasta dishes were AMAZING, and the warm bread was delish! We once again had a table on the terrace, and I just love that!
One of the best asset of our Airbnb house was the location. Five minute walk from the lake and the busiest streets, which mean we didn’t even needed to use the car, we just walked everywhere we wanted to go. When we weren’t walking, it’s because we were on the Trolley tour! We visited many Canadian landmarks and learned so much, I definitely recommend it if you are visiting Kingston. I honestly feel like it’s the best way to learn about the history of a city. The trolley brings you to all the major and not so major parts of the city while the drivers share personal stories about it.
We then had lunch at Chez Piggy, which was the boys’ decision simply cause they thought the name and the pig on the sign was funny. Well they made a smart choice as we sat on one of the coolest patio in town, they had Wi-Fi and some Beau’s IPA, something for all of the boys in my life. Our server was great and the food was good, so I would totally recommend having drinks and snacks there if you can snatch a table outside.
As part of our hop on hop off, we visited Fort Henry but didn’t pay for the real tour of the fort, instead we simply walked around and enjoyed one of the best views of the city. I find that the boys are still a bit young to understand or care about why this place was built and what it represents. They do understand a lot of English (thanks to You Tube), but listening about our history was a bit of a challenge for them. I would like to take them back to Kingston once they understand a bit more about our heritage.
One thing you DO have to do in Kingston is to SHOP! Princess Street and the surrounding streets are simply amazing! We loved to wander through the streets and go from one store to the other. I’m in love with all the one of a kind shops and boutiques. My fav has to be Midori, a Japanese store with all kind of unique stuff, ranging from Hello Kitty to Pokémon. I could have stayed there for hours!
So on our second night while we were having diner on the rooftop terrace of Jack Astor’s, Brian was scrolling through is Instagram and then he just looked at me and yelled “Rory Taillon is in Kingston, TONIGHT”. So let me tell you about Rory Taillon. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know we visit Beau’s Oktoberfest every year religiously. At Oktoberfest we usually just walk around all day, drink beer, and eat food, without any agenda, except for the Rory Taillon’s gig, which is the thing he can’t miss during the weekend. I’m not kidding, he’s like a real groupie for this guy. And he’s been after me to go to a show forever!
So when he found out about the show happening that night, it was a no brainer, and he told us that we all had to go. The show was at Mussikki Café, which was like 70 meters away from where we were having diner. So we made our way through this tiny bar that opens up on like the best courtyard ever, with a huge tree, hanging lights everywhere, mix matched tables and Rory Taillon in the middle. My husband was star struck!!! The show was about to start but he still managed to buy his vinyl record and chat with him for a minute. My mom and Frank stayed for a little while but then left to bring the boys home while we stayed and watched the show. I have to agree with him, it was an amazing experience. His voice is really something and we both loved our evening. It was the perfect ending to our getaway.
So our time in PEC and Kingston was coming to an end, but with so many good memories. So many things about our trip surprised us. I knew we would have a good time, after all, every vacation is awesome, but I never thought I would enjoy this one so much! Of course I wish we would travel to Europe and to some far away destinations, but for now, in this season of life, we decided that we were gonna stay close to home, and we were so lucky to find some really great places that we now love.
Not sure where our next adventure will be (well, we did road tripped to Boston the following week!), but I know that everywhere we go, we keep on finding new amazing things to do, which is the best. Well that, and also spending time together. See you later Kingston!
If you ask me where I want to go next, I will immediately say Disney. If Disney isn’t an option, well I have a long list of other places I want to visit, and until not long ago, Picton was not on it. Honestly, I had never really imagined I would want to go to Picton one day. Like I didn’t really knew much about it and had not really paid any attention to that part of our province before… well that completely changed the day I saw those pretty pink doors! You can call it the power of pink. Yep, pink freakin doors on what is now the cutest motel I’ve ever stayed at! I stumbled upon these now famous doors in late 2017, and ever since, I’ve been obsessed about visiting The June Motel in Picton. Which I just did!
So one night earlier in July, with absolutely no summer vacation plan ahead, and with all of my friends literally traveling either across the world or across Canada, I was kind of bummed about my summer so far. So right before going to bed, I begged Brian that we should really GO on a road trip to The June Motel in Picton. He didn’t really know anything about Picton other than The June Motel since I had been talking about it for over a year now. Well let’s just say that he wasn’t too hard to convince once he had Googled what to do in Picton and saw all the vineyards in the area! So by midnight, he had booked us a room at The June Motel and we finally had a destination… well three destinations I should say, since he actually bargained a stop in Kingston on our way back and then a road trip to Boston to go see his beloved Red Sox the following week. But guess what, no problem my friend, ANYTHING you want as long as you bring me in front of those pretty pink doors so I can take a selfie!!!
Now, all I had to do was to find places to visit, where to eat, things to do and plan all the pictures I was about to take! We were bringing the boys with us, so it wasn’t only going to be a grown up trip to wineries and breweries, as we had to find things to do for them as well. Well that ended up not being a problem at all while visiting wineries and breweries, you’ll see why later on.
We were going to stay 2 nights at The June, and my excitement was over the roof! So we left on our road trip on Monday morning, with a latte in one hand and my camera in the other. Prince Edward County is a short 2 hours and 45 minutes’ drive from home, or a bit longer if you’re like my husband and always insist on taking the back roads. So after a short discussion, which I lost, we ended up on the scenic route between Gananoque and PEC. Even I have to admit that this was the right thing to do, cause for about half an hour more we got to enjoy the beautiful view alongside the St-Lawrence. We even took a ferry from the mainland to PEC, which was the best, especially for the boys – for the three boys I mean.
Since we made it there around lunch time and check-in was still a few hours away, we decided to hit the Parson’s Brewery first. Brian had heard about it from friends and colleagues, and wow, what a great way to start our PEC tour. From the moment we arrived we knew we were going to love the place. They have such a great spot and landscape for a brewery; AND they have entertainment for the kids. I have to admit that going to PEC with kids was a bit intimidating. My boys are usually pretty well behave when they are entertained, and when they are not entertained, well we always have the iPad ready to keep them busy. In PEC, while visiting a winery or brewery or distillery, they weren’t even interested in the iPad as they would find something fun to do everywhere we’d go. At Parsons, the first thing they did was to ask for their Polaroid to take pictures. Then, we got a great table on the outside patio. Well, all of their tables and sitting areas are pretty amazing. The boys ran around the property for hours, playing ping-pong, bocce ball, horseshoes, while spending most of their time climbing on the wooden play structure with the other kids there. They only came to us when they were thirsty from running around, and then they were off again to the play structure. As for us, we enjoyed our food and drinks and cheered to our two week vacation together. Brian had a flight of beers and a charcuterie board that was delicious. I had a lovely Hibiscus Mocktail and some fresh guacamole and chips. Perfect start to our journey! The boys made some friends and didn’t want to leave, which usually means they had the best of time. We were all very happy that our vacay started at Parson’s Brewery.
Then we stopped a small winery on our way back, Black Prince. We had fun walking around, visiting the barn and watching the outdoor pizza oven (I so want one in my backyard!) and took some more pictures while Brian had a few tastings. Then, it was finally time to head out to the main purpose of our visit, our pink-door-motel!
LOVE!!! It’s the only way I can explain how I felt when we arrived! The boys were so excited for me and the pink doors! They knew this was for me and they were so happy about it. They have the cutest lobby ever where we were greeted with Rosé by the friendliest staff. After Brian had finished his and mine Rosé glasses, we finally got our retro room key and on our way we were to room 6! We’ve stayed in really nice hotels before, and I kind of feel stupid saying this, but I don’t remember being this excited about opening the door of a hotel room before. So I opened the door and our room was A M A Z I N G! We were in love with it the moment we stepped in. The boys thought it was the cutest room ever and I had to agree. So fun, fresh and girly, yet, my 3 men loved everything about it.
Brian unpacked while I was busy taking pictures of everything! And I mean everything, from the wallpaper, to the cute note from the cleaning ladies, the pink bathroom, the mini fridge, the beds, the pillows, and of course a million shots of our pink door! Instagram dream location alert!!!
Once we had settled in our room, we decided to go visit the Picton village, which is about 3 minutes away. You can even rent, free of charge, gorgeous bikes from The June, but since we had the boys with us, we couldn’t use them during our stay. Picton is a small and cute town, with a perfect main street just like I love it, where you’ll find an old movie theater, hip coffee shops, a book store, some other one of a kind stores and so much more. The vibe is mellow, with nobody in a rush, where everyone seems to be having a great time. We were starving and decided to have dinner at The Vic Café, a modern and colourful diner restaurant. We had a huge booth with colourful pillows, to-draw placemats as well as a huge bright window to do some people watching! The boys even showed us a card game they have learned at school that we now can’t stop playing. I got the burger and it was sooooo good! Brian got the butter chicken which seemed delicious, while the boys had… PANCAKES! They thought it was the best thing ever to have breakfast for dinner. Logan’s new thing is to say ‘I know you’re going to say no, but I would like to…’ when asking for something. So let’s say they were both really impressed with me when I said yes to pancakes for dinner. Now they want to do this at home, we’ll see about that! I really recommend The Vic Café if you visit Picton. They also have a great patio, but it was cloudy and a bit cold on our first day so we opted for indoors. Next time we will definitely try the patio.
Back at The June, it was Movie Monday. They set up a large screen on the patio where you can watch some old time 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s movies by the fire with a glass of Rosé, craft beer, popcorn, and of course S’MORES! Unfortunately for us, the movie wasn’t really kid friendly so we parked the boys in the lobby with their iPads while we watched the movie outside – Mom, don’t panic, we weren’t even 20 feet away and we could actually talk to them through the screened door! I had to cut my Movie Monday short because Logan was coughing a lot and I knew it was now time to put them both to bed, so I will never know how Dazed and Confused ends. At least I now know where Matthew McConaughey’ alright, alright, alright quote comes from, which was definitely the best part of the movie.
Next morning we woke up bright and early and got ready for the beach. We got some delicious lattes’ from Miss Lily’s Cafe and then we made the short drive to Sandbanks. The boys decided that we would be going to The Dunes Beach, because there’s a Mario Bros level in French called something like the dunes… so yep, we’re now visiting places because of Mario Bros (that’s life with boys). We had been told that the water was still high and it was, which made getting to the dunes a bit tricky but oh so awesome! We were almost alone when we got there so we scored a great spot. We had fun building a pool for the fishies that we catched, played a bit of football and had an amazing time swimming. All of us except Brian who HATES the beach and the sand. But we did win him over after a little while and I believe he actually had a great time. After a few hours at the beach, we decided to pack up and start visiting some wineries.
We were starving so we decided to head out to Norman Hardie Winery and Vineyard for some wooden oven pizza and some wine tasting. The property was amazing and so was the pizza. The boys played on a trampoline and Brian had a few tastings while I enjoyed the scenery. After that, we visited Casa Dea’s Winery, which was right in front. So Brian enjoyed another wine tasting while I sat and relaxed watching the boys having a great time playing chess on a large outdoor set.
We then visited PEC Lavender. I still haven’t visited my beloved Maison Lavande this year so I was super stoked to get the chance to visit a lavender farm. It smelled heavenly. We were almost alone in the fields and it was just the best. The boys had fun running and playing hide and seek across the lavender field while we enjoyed some Lavender Gelato on the Adirondack chairs. It was great to just sit and relax a bit after such a jam packed day. I would definitely recommend everyone to stop at PEC Lavender in between two wineries if you go to PEC.
Not too far away was Closson Chase Winery, my favorite winery of our tour – and I say this basically due to the gorgeous purple barn on site, as I didn’t tasted a single drop of wine on our trip. I also loved their outside patio area and the presentation of the wine tasting, while Brian really liked both of their Chardonnay. I truly recommend a visit there right after you’ve been to PEC Lavender. By then, the boys were getting a little tired and luckily for them there were some hammock style swings close to the outdoor patio where we were. They spent the entire time there in the hammock and they loved it. I keep on mentioning what the boys did at each of our stops because I know some of you might hesitate to bring your kids to PEC, as it may seems more like an adult style destination, but throughout our trip we felt that our kids were welcomed everywhere we went, and we know they had a great time following us, because as I said earlier, they didn’t asked for the iPad once! So don’t hesitate, book your PEC trip and bring the kids with you!
We had kept the Kinsip House of Fine Spirits for last. Brian’s expectations were like really high for this place. When we got there he seemed to be as excited about Kinsip as he is every time we visit his beloved Beau’s Brewery. So he did multiple tastings while chatting with the friendly staff at the outside tasting bar. Apparently people have to go through a long line-up during the weekends to get to the tasting bar, but it was Tuesday afternoon, and we basically had the place to ourselves. So Brian stayed at the bar, talking to the staff member for like an hour, tasting what seems to be all of their fine spirits, then bought some whisky as well as a t-shirt, which means that Kinsip did not disappoint and truly met all of his expectations. Like, as soon as he came back with a t-shirt, I knew it, cause all he usually wears are his Beau’s tee, so for him to get a t-shirt there, I knew he was totally impressed with the place! The staff was so friendly and very interesting to listen to. I don’t drink but I love their bottles. They definitely have the best bottle designs. I also loved the feel of the place, while Brian loved their fine spirits. You absolutely have to visit Kinsip, that’s all I have to say. So I spent most of my time enjoying the patio, watching the kids and the loose chickens running around the farm. Then I had the best BBQ plate ever! Guess what, I was getting a little hungry, and lucky me, right there in Kinsip’s garden you’ll find Big Mike’s BBQ Smokehouse, which is to die for! No fine spirits for me but definitely the best beef brisket in town. All that while the boys made some new friends and built some sort of fort in the wooden area. They were running back and forth to grab some pieces of meat and then back to the fort! Kinsip was our favorite and the best way to end this wonderful afternoon.
We ended our day with dinner at The County Canteen, and it was soooo good! Probably the best mussels we ever had. We had a great spot on the patio, watching all the tourist walk around the Main Street. But we were all tired from our day that we decided to head back to The June for an early night. We missed Rosé O’Clock but we still had drinks in the lobby and on the patio, while the boys were playing nearby.
Our time at The June was coming to an end, but we still managed to enjoy our last evening there by playing a few games of cards before it was time to call it a night! Next morning we took like what seemed to be a few hundreds more pictures and then packed up our car to get ready to leave for our next stop of our road trip. Liam and I took one last picture in front of the lobby before it was time to hand back our number 6 retro key with a heavy heart. Leaving a place where you share such awesome memories is always hard for our emotional crew, and this time was no different.
We had the best time at The June and I can’t wait to visit you again, hopefully next time with my girlfriends! So June, this is not a goodbye… this is a see you soon!
Summer is flying by and so was Loggy’s Birthday! Our sweet boy turned 7 last week and my heart wanted to split open at the thought of not having a baby anymore… but seeing how excited he was to turn a year older overnight was so much fun, that it actually outshined the heartbreak.
He had been talking about his Pokémon birthday since January, and this one is really into it Bday theme and decorations, so I can’t tell you how many times we scrolled through Pinterest searching for fun themed ideas, games, décor, and of course, cakes!
So if your kid is going to school and was born during the summer, I’m sure you had to deal with the same struggles as I did trying to organize a friends Bday party late July. My first mistake was definitely to send the invitation the last week of school… yeah, I know! Some did not respond, some were going away on vacation, while some others had to cancel at the last minute. But that didn’t stop our boy from having a great time and enjoying his party with the 3 out of 8 friends that did show up! Next year, I’m either sending the invitation way earlier or I’m throwing his party in June before the school ends! We’ll see.
He wanted some Pikachu balloons, so instead of buying a pack of ten Pikachu balloons, I decided to actually make a huge Pokémon out of regular balloons. It looked awesome but I had to blow what feels like a million yellow balloons to get there! Still, totally worth it! I also made a few Pokémon cakes, scotch taped way too many Pokémon cards to the wall, as well as hid Poke Balls and plush Pokémon everywhere in the house for the treasure hunt. For lunch, we had a delicious Poke Ball pizza (huge THANKS to Jumbo Pizza in Rockland!), some Pokémon pops and cookies, as well as Charmander cake with a real fire-burning tail!!!
We also hosted a family party later on that day and just like it seems to happen EVERY YEAR on Logan’s Birthday, a severe thunderstorm hit us. I swear, every time we celebrate this kid we have rain. But rain never stopped us and him from having a great time, so we continued the party inside and had more delicious food and fun!
I’m not big on quotes and stuff like that, but a few months ago, I read this one quote online that got to me, as all I could picture while reading it was this face he makes that I love so much. “My dear one, the truth about you is that you are magic, love and light. You shine so bright you make this big beautiful world a little more wonderful. Do me a favour? Never stop shining your light.”
Hope you had the best birthday ever my Loggy Bunny! We are the lucky ones that got to “Catch” you! You truly are magic, love and light. Love you madly. Happy Birthday baby boy.