Well that what quite the turn of events… On Thursday March 12, at about 4 pm, 14 hours prior our flight departure, we pulled the plug on our long awaited Disney World trip due to the coronavirus/Covid-19 crisis. We were completely heartbroken. So while the boys and I were crying our hearts out, Brian was on three different phones, calling the airline, hotel, car rental, etc. It was a real mess… but he was so patient with all this, knowing he was not the only one in this situation. After countless phone calls and hours on hold, he was finally able to get everything cancelled by Monday morning. So since then, like most people, we’ve been shackled down in our home, which I guess is not that bad. Our new daily routine includes taking walks, playing millions of games, drawing and crafting, as well as, since Monday morning, homeschooling the boys. I’m use to being with the boys for long periods of time, aka SUMMER, so the real adjustment has been with Brian. He’s really not used on staying home for long period of time. To say it’s been an adjustment would be putting it mildly! He had to get a hobby. And I am so glad he did! So while it’s getting trickier to run to the store to get some groceries amid this crisis, my husband has decided to make his own bread… and to my surprise, it’s not bad!
Our first try was really a test. But now that he’s tweaked the recipe, it’s actually just perfect! So I’ve decided to share it with you since you probably also have a bit more time on your hands and making bread is definitely now one of the highlights of our days!
Easter is only a few short weeks away and being in quarantine doesn’t make shopping for our little bunnies easy. So, I’m bringing you the best AMAZON EASTER LIST you are going to find! Most of these items can be shipped with Prime in a few days. Oh, if you don’t have Prime by now, get it! You’ll get two-day shipping on mostly everything on top of Prime movies and TV Shows… because let’s face it, if you have to stay home for a month like I do, it’s not gonna take long before you’ve seen all the best Netflix has to offer! Bonus, your husband can watch Jack Ryan or Treadstone, so it’s like you got them an early Easter present! So go ahead and fill out that cart… might has well add extra chocolate at the end, because you will NEED it at one point in the next few weeks! Hoppy shopping!
1. Instax: Still can’t get enough. Even if we have 2 in our house, I’m thinking I need one too!
2. Bunny Diffuser: You will need to diffuse lots of oil in the next little while and why not do it in Easter style. I recommend Stress Away from Young Living, especially if you have a few kids running around the house all-day.
3. Le petit lapin magique: Our favourite Easter book (there’s also one for Christmas). Only 2 books in this collection but they are so adorable. The drawings are soft and it’s a perfect gift for your little book lover. Logan loves to read this one to me… it’s the sweetest thing ever for my little bunny lover.
4. Bubble gun: I hate bubbles but the boys love them. It’s spring now, so send them outside and let them have fun. And no more sticky fingers with this bubble gun!
5. Egg Chalk: Need, need, need. We go through so much chalk over here it’s insane. These are super cute to add to your basket loot.
6. Mini scooter: Snow on the ground will soon be all gone and your young ones will love to ride this thing. So instead of giving them an easter basket, organize a treasure hunt around the house so they can find the scooter in the driveway at the end. That’s what I did 4 years ago and it was such a success.
7. Bunnies by the Bay: This one is my FAV. Logan’s bunny. We have 3 (well 5 if you count the 2 we’ve lost along the way) and he sleeps with them every night. Perfect for baby’s first Easter. The entire Bunnies by the Bay collection is awesome.
8. Sushi Go: We have this game and it’s the cutest. Fun too. Play this after diner or on the go at the restaurant. A family favourite.
10. Unicorn Bath Bombs: So many choices on Amazon, but I chose these because of their colors. Perfect for Easter.
11. iPhone Cable Have a teenager on that list? Get them a new cable… cause you know they are going to end up using yours. Love the Amazon Basics line. And the cable works great. I used to know because my boys (not sure which one of the 3) stole my pink one!
12. Jumpin’: We love this game. It’s not easy at all. Lots of levels for everyone to enjoy.
13. Bunny socks: Bought those a few years ago and we still wear them. Adorable, get a pair for each member of the family and then get the cutest picture.
14. How to draw Harry Potter: This item will for sure be in both boys’ basket. We’re obsessed with HP so we definitely need this. And the price is pretty awesome too!
15. Bunny Eye Mask: How cute!?! And inexpensive. Added to my cart already!
16. Mandalorian Lego: My boys can’t wait to get their hands on this set. They are obsessed… who am I kidding… I’m obsessed too!
17. IQ XOXO: Portable game. Perfect for long drives or at the restaurants. Not sure who loves it more, the boys or Brian. Great for the entire family.
18. Rainbow Stacking Blocks: I just love fun toys for babies that are durable and can be used forever. This set would be a great add to any baby basket.
So one of my ultimate dream finally came true: TO HAVE AN AMAZING WHITE KITCHEN!!!
From the moment I walked into my house while doing house hunting about 6 years ago, I knew this is where I was going to stay, but I also knew that this kitchen had to be re-done in white one day. It should have never been brown-ish from the first place. I remember walking through it for the first time and picturing it all-white, and it was so beautiful! So it was my only condition for buying the house. It needed to be white within 6 months. Well, 6 months turned into over 5 years, but we finally did it, we re-did our kitchen, and it is exactly as I’d pictured it in 2015, or even better, and here’s how it all happened.
Last spring, we started to talk about our summer plans, what we wanted to do in the next year, where we wanted to go, Brian was looking at houses on the market for our friends who were looking to move in town, and from time to time he would show one to me and say things like ‘‘look at this one… this one is really nice… would you like this one for us?’’. For me things were quite simple, like let’s not travel this summer and please stop looking at other houses, cause I love my house and I want to stay here, but let’s redo our kitchen, in white, please! Well if you follow my blog you know that we ended up traveling quite a bit last summer, so I guess I didn’t win that one – for now.
So summer happened and my plans were kind of put on hold, and instead of re-doing our kitchen, we went on multiple road trips and had a blast in the pool all summer long! Brian had actually never been a fan of this whole kitchen-reno-project-idea of mine. So I knew it would be a tough sell with him. But then, on my last weekend off of the summer, out of nowhere, I asked Brian if we could go to Ikea on Sunday morning to look at white counter tops, you know, just to get an idea, and he said yes!!! So just like that, this was the beginning of our kitchen reno. So at the same time as our back-to-school, which is probably the most hectic time of the year for me at work and home, we started a huge reno project. I knew that a full kitchen renovation wasn’t going to be easy for us, but man, I was not expecting it to be such an emotional roller coaster. Ishhh… I have to say that he was very good putting up with me for the following two months… still not sure how we got through this. But we did, so good for us!
After that visit to Ikea, I had a pretty good idea where this was going. So here what my original plan looked like: do it all ourselves, let’s paint the cabinets white, let’s take out that awful backsplash and replace it with white subway tiles, let’s put the cheapest white countertop we can find and then repaint the room floor to ceiling. Easy enough, right? I really thought we could do all of this in about a weekend or so. Hummmm, not really. That trip to Ikea was actually a game changer for me. While I thought I would have to settle for the cheapest laminate countertop to stay within our budget, I realized that getting a bright and shiny white Quartz countertop would actually not cost me a leg and an arm. So we shopped around a little and found the perfect all-white countertop at Granstone in Ottawa. Brian sent an email to the store for a quote on a Monday, picked up a few samples on the Wednesday, got some measurements done a week later, and basically, not even a month after sending that original email, all was done and it looked A-MA-ZING.
Granstone went above and beyond all of my expectations. First, their prices were really competitive, like we were so impressed with the price for the Quartz countertop that after receiving the first quote, we immediately asked them to add a quote for the backsplash, which they ended up doing as well. Dealing with them was actually the best part and the smoothest part of our entire reno. Like, I can’t for the life of me visit a renovation store when it comes to picking and choosing between this tile or that one. So many choices, way too many possibilities, and definitely not enough patience. So I sent Brian to pick out a few white countertop samples to bring back home and I selected my favorite one. Did the same with the backsplash. After that, within a few days, our kitchen was completely transformed. Here’s how it went down: on day one the tiles and counter were removed, on day two the wall was prepped for the new backsplash and on day three they brought in and installed my gorgeous Quartz white countertops. I was in love with it from the moment I saw it. Took a picture of my Big Mac meal that evening (because you eat lots of junk food during a kitchen reno) and posted it on Instagram saying something like: “Isn’t this the most beautiful Big Mac meal you’ve ever seen?” with the beaming white countertop in the back. I couldn’t stop staring at it. The following week was the backslash. I think I cried when it was done. We had it installed up to the ceiling and it’s so different and soft and perfect. They did an amazing job and I am so happy we found Granstone in the first place. If you’re thinking about doing a kitchen reno, you need to visit them. Oh, you can try to find a better price or better service somewhere else, but you won’t! If we would have known before, we would have done our kitchen reno years ago. We’ve already sent 2 of our friends there so far and they’ve both had amazing experiences. Ask for Jen, mention the blog, and you’ll get a discount, I swear!
So while the transformation with Granstone went smoothly, painting the cabinet didn’t. The original plan was to do everything ourselves, and now, all that was actually left for us to do was painting the cabinets, and it ended up being like HELL. I’ve had too many meltdowns to count and too many arguments to last a lifetime during that awful month. After the countertops and backsplash were done, I had no time to lose, the eager beaver in me wanted this project completed NOW!!! So I picked up the primer on a Friday night, washed and rinsed the cabinet doors with the recommended product, let everything dry for 24 hours, took the doors off and brought them downstairs in our Dexter’s kill room ready to be spray painted. Then our friends Danika and Scot came over to help us prime the cabinet doors. We were really counting on them to help us with this project since they had already painted their kitchen cabinets by themselves and the result was glorious (and because I had no clue whatsoever what I was getting myself into). So they came in with all the gears we could possibly need for this. They also came with a few advice, like when Scot said ‘’I’m pretty sure you need to sand those doors first, eh’’. But I had been told we could probably do it without sanding first, so in order to save time, that’s what we did. We aligned the 52 cabinet doors and drawers and gave a first coat of primer. Yes, 52. It took about 10 minutes with the spray paint gun, not bad, right?
After an hour of drying time, I went downstairs and that’s when I saw the mess. The primer did not stick to the wood. It had made bubbles everywhere and I wanted to scream. I was in total disbelief and couldn’t understand what was happening to us. So the next day we looked into it, googled what to do now, went back to the store, and apparently the first step for a project like this one is very simple, and it’s called ‘’take the time to sand those freaking cabinet doors first’’. So we brought all of the cabinet doors and drawers back upstairs, then outside a few at a time, stripped the first coat of primer, sanded both sides, and then washed and rinsed them all one by one. It doesn’t sound like much now, but at that point, our renovation project had taken a turn for the worse. Over the course of the following 14 days that’s literally all I did after work and on the weekends, and almost all by myself since Brian was out of town for work for a full week. It was a total chaos. I cried every time I picked up a new piece and brought it outside to work on it. Once we were done, my mom rewashed all of the doors and drawers and we started the primer part again. We gave 2 coats of primer, then 2 or 3 coats of paint depending on the results, and after about 40 hours of work, I was done. Oh, and I only painted the doors and drawers, as my mom ended up being the one priming and painting the cabinet frames while we were at work and the boys at school since you can’t really paint a kitchen with kids running around!
So I said earlier that the first time I walked into my kitchen I knew it had to be white… well I also had a few more ideas that came with it. One of the first thing I did was to order gold cabinet knobs on Amazon, and after 3 different orders, I finally got it right with my champagne gold knobs! Also bought a gold faucet, on Amazon as well, for like a quarter of the price I would have paid in store and it’s AMAZING. I originally went to a few stores to find the perfect gold faucet and I got a ‘’no we don’t, but please come back in like 20 years ago’’ answer. Eh, have you seen my kitchen, B*tch! I also knew that I needed to remove one of the stand-alone cabinet to make the room brighter. And that’s what I did. And it was one of the best decision of the entire project. It looks so much better now. That cabinet was right between the two windows and did absolutely nothing else than store crap. So I removed it, had backsplash installed up to the ceiling, and then decided to put two wooden floating shelves right between the windows. I was a bit skeptic at some point when Brian started to drill holes through my gorgeous ceramic tiles to mount the floating shelves properly, but he installed them like it was his day job and it worked perfectly! And now I’m obsessed with them. It’s like the perfect little spot to store my favorite mugs and candid pictures or festive little decorations. It really opened up the space and the wood gave some balance to all the white. Oh, yeah, about the balance with all the white… well at some point after we had primed the cabinet frames, Brian started to have this idea that it was going to be too white. I was confident it wouldn’t and argued with him that this was actually the point, to have a white kitchen. But after looking at pictures on Pinterest (that he found on his own new Pinterest account!), I decided that painting the island a different color may actually be the way to go. So I wanted pink, he wanted some sort of blue-green, and we settled for blue. A truly unique blue. We bought half a paint of blue. Didn’t like it. Bought another blue. Didn’t like it either. Bought a third blue. Still didn’t like it. Then, we started to mix them together and ended up trying different combinations until we found the perfect blue. With the gold knobs, and the white countertop, it is so beautiful.
The installation of the doors and drawers was bittersweet. I was so happy to finally have a white kitchen, yet so exhausted and tired that I could barely give a sh*t! By that time, all I wanted was to get the walls and ceiling painted asap so we could be done with this and not talk about kitchen reno for a long long time. So instead of doing it ourselves, as originally planned, we asked one of our friend to do it, and within 12 hours, the paint job was all done, which sealed the deal for our kitchen renovation.
It took way longer than I thought, but it was finally over. And now, I am so happy with the results, which is all that matters. Living without a proper kitchen for over a month was hard, especially with two kids. We lived with sealed cabinets for over two weeks, food scattered pretty much everywhere in the living room, tools covering up the kitchen table, cutlery drawers on the floor and way too many take-out meals, but we made it. What’s funny is that I can barely remember how it looked like before without looking at a picture. It’s crazy. It was a great kitchen, but I was right from the beginning, it was sooo meant to be white, and now it is, and I am going to enjoy it to the fullest.
Saturday mornings are now my favorites. I sit in my rocking chair with my pink cozy blanket and a latte in my hands and I can’t keep myself from staring and it. It wasn’t easy, but I would do it all over again in a heartbeat if you’d ask me. My kitchen is where I spend the most time in my home. It’s where I cook meals for my family, where we entertain our friends and family, where the boys do their homework, where we share the best part of our day, where I rock my babies when they have sorrows, where we craft and where we love. And now, we can do all those things in my beautiful and bright WHITE kitchen. And that’s a dream come true!
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’’!