easter 2021

Easter is just a few days away, and here’s my list of what to buy this year. Since it’s now probably too late to order some of those items online if you’d like them in time for Easter, I would suggest to visit your nearby small shop and support local this year! And if you do, please be mindful of the current restrictions. So Spring is here and I’m ready for all things floral, colourful and fun! I’ve put together a bunch of fun ideas to fill the Easter basket of your favourite people or simply to get ready for spring. Have fun shopping!

Invisible Pen: The boys have these pens and they are so much fun. You can leave mysterious notes, play Sherlock Holmes or just have fun doodling. You can get an excellent price if you buy a bunch. Maybe Peter Rabbit can use them to create a fun eggs treasure hunt on Easter morning.

Bubble machine: You know what I hate? Blowing bubbles. I absolutely hate the mess but I so love the fun. So this little machine is a dream come true. Add bubble liquid and press on. Could be fun to put one next to the pool and have a bubble pool party! Yep, let’s try it this summer!

Beaded Headband: Definitely need to order this one for myself! Perfect for all my spring outfits… and yours! So go get it now!

Night Garden Puzzle: Love this puzzle and the whimsical feeling it has. We did the octopus one in this series and we had the best time making it. We glued it and will frame it for the cottage. Maybe we need this one too. Yeah, let’s add it to the basket!

Star Wars PJ: Got these for the boys and they are AWESOME. I mean, come on, Storm trooper bunnies! It’s everything they need!

Cars Short PJ: So wish these came in larger sizes. So if you are lucky enough to still have minis at home, get this vintag-y Cars Pajama.

Bunny Robe: Every bunny needs this bunny robe.

Straw Headband: Talk about looking like spring. Would be perfect with every Easter outfits. In the basket as well!

Knit Hoodie: Softest hoodie EVER. Love the simplicity of this hoodie. Trying to get away from all the busy print and characters tees and this is the way to go. Will get it in every colour for sure!

Jelly Sandals: This brings me so far back! I remember my grandma buying me these plastic sandals back in the days. Ohhh the pain the first time you wore them!!! Hopefully, these have improve over the years! They are just too cute and would be the perfect addition to a little girl Easter basket.

Swimsuit: I always get the boys some new swimsuit for Easter. It reminds them that summer is coming and they always need a new one anyway. So it’s a win win. A necessity you buy and a gift for them!

Jellycat Blossom Bunny: I just can’t even. I’m so happy Logan still bring his bunnies everywhere. Aren’t these the cutest bunnies ever. Might just need one for myself

Razor Scooter:  The kids are tired or being in school, not playing with friends like they used to. So get them a scooter and bring them outside for some much needed sunshine and play time. Logan tried the skate park The Yard in Ottawa last week for a friend’s bday party and he had the best time. We might even get the boys some scooter lesson if soccer and baseball is cancelled this year again.

Perler Beads: QUIET TIME! Yes, as soon as I bring out the beads… it can go from total chaos to total quiet in matters of seconds. So, BUY YOURS NOW!

Star Wars Monopoly:If we wouldn’t have already 3 Monopoly games, I would absolutely get this for Liam. Actually, I just might… to feed our growing Baby Yoda addiction.

Pool Float:Talking about addiction, this one is mine and mine only. How can you not smile when you see a pool full of fun floats. We have more floats than the size of my pool but I don’t care, they’re everywhere and I just love it. Next goal: floating island for the cottage!

Bunny Waffle Maker: You have to get this so you can make magical breakfast with this adorable waffle maker. They work so great. Plus, the recipe included is delic

Bunny Slippers: I can totally see myself or your teenager girl in these bunny slippers.

Bunny mugs: And while I wear the bunny slippers from above, I also see myself drinking a latte in these amazing mugs. You never have enough coffee mugs. Another addiction I guess! Not the coffee, but the mugs.

So I want to wish everyone of you the happiest and safest Easter weekend. It will be the second Easter by ourselves but that won’t stop us from having fun and making memories! Please stay safe and try to do your part so we can get out of this and have a normal-ish summer. Cause that’s all I want right now, for things to get better so we can have a fun and relaxing summer, I need it, you need it, everyone needs it, so let’s do this. Happy Easter my friend!

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covid year one: eat and drink locally

Guess what everyone, we did it! We’ve made it through year one of the pandemic. One full year since life as we knew it completely changed in a matter of a few days. A year ago, today, we cancelled our Disney trip 10 hours prior to take-off. Wow, like now, thinking back about March 2020, how naïve was I thinking we would probably have to wait a few weeks before we’d be able to go back to our daily routine. Looking back, maybe I was wayyyy too optimistic, or maybe I simply had no clue how lucky we were back then. What I know is that we were taking our daily life for granted and hopefully we’ll never get back there once the pandemic is over.

So I have been quiet here lately, and to be honest, the last 6 months have been really hard on me. I haven’t been myself at times, feeling down, and lonely, and tired of all this, not knowing when things would be better. With weekdays and weekends blending into one, and weeks becoming months. I know I am not the only one going through a rough time, and I feel for all of you going through something similar. So to everyone else who feels like every day is the same with school, work, cooking, cleaning, housework and then going to bed, well hang tight. I’m usually big on celebrating everything but there wasn’t much to celebrate in the last year. Yet, I feel like we’re about to turn a corner here. Finally! The pandemic isn’t over, and there’s probably still a long way ahead before I can go to Disney with my family and go buy some avocados and chips at the grocery store without wearing my mask, but the days are starting to get longer and I’m feeling more and more like myself, I can feel spring is coming, baby lemons are growing in my lemon tree, we will be opening our summer cottage in less than 2 months, and all this is making me so very much happy!

I’m proud of us and how we’ve handled the pandemic so far, you know, trying our best to do our part to limit the spread, staying home, staying safe, and being conscious of the regulations and public health measures, while also supporting our local businesses, restaurants and breweries!

I mean we’ve always enjoyed eating out and encouraging local restaurants before, but since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve been trying to do take-out once a week, ordering from different places, and I thought I’d let you know all about it. Of course the boys would prefer to have Domino’s every week, but I now prefer my pizza in a long rectangular box, and once you’ll try this pizza, so will you! So here’s some of our favorite spots we’ve been ordering from in the last year:

1- Farinella: As I just said, my favorite pizza now comes in a long Farinella box. I’ve been obsessed with this place since I’ve heard about it 2 years ago. It’s a bit of a drive for us, but oooh so worth it! Our favorite ones are the Frank Pinello and the Salamino! So we like to try different ones when we eat there, but when we order out, we’re boring and go with what we know we’ll like. And those two are such a great combo. But I am not done… guess what else they do? Freakin gelato!!! Yeah, their gelato is to die for! So if you go, don’t make the mistake of simply buying a pint or two like I did on my first time, nope, buy as much as there’s room in your freezer, and you won’t regret it! Pistachio, Milk Chocolate and Hazelnut are my favorite ones. So this place has been our go-to take-out restaurant on Saturday night over the last year, and I will continue to order out but can’t wait to go there on a sunny Saturday afternoon and try all of their pizzas and gelatos!

2- Vert Fourchette: So not everyone here will know about Vert Fourchette as this is located in Vankleek Hill, about 50 minutes away from Ottawa, but we just love everything about that place and you will to after a single visit. It’s fresh, inspired and always delicious. They’ve created an awesome pick-up menu during the lockdown, and now even if the dining room has reopened, you can still order to go or get some of their delicious frozen meals. They also have special charcuterie boxes for special events. For Valentine’s Day, we ordered the 4 course meal and it was so much fun to prepare and even more fun to eat. The best thing we’ve tried is the chèvre chaud with bacon and fig… I can’t describe it, but oh boy was it good. Brian had the salmon while I had the Beef Wellington for diner, which was delicious, but I would have been okay simply eating more and more chèvre chaud as my main meal. It was that good. Can’t wait to go for tacos on the terrace.

3- Beau’s Brewery: Talking about Vankleek Hill, well of course I had to have Beau’s on this list! At first we were getting Beau’s delivered at home, but after a while we started to go to the Brewery to get out of the house. And now that their Tap room is OPEN, guess where we’ll be on Saturday! If you can’t get to Vankleek Hill, you should order some of their beers online. But if you can visit the brewery, you should! What I’m most excited about is their outside setup, as a few benches and fire pits have been installed outside the brewery where you can enjoy a beer by the fire and catch up with friends. Beau’s will always make the list, pandemic or not! Now, let’s hope this thing goes away fast so they can bring back Oktoberfest in 2021!

4- Black Walnut Bakery: We are so lucky to live about 7 minutes away from this perfect picture family owned bakery. If you live too far to visit the bakery, simply follow them on Instagram to see all the amazing items they make! Their French croissants, lattes and loaves of bread are sooooo good. During the pandemic, we’ve been ordering online in advance and picking it up at our scheduled time. If you simply want to walk-in you still can, but the place is usually packed! People are lining up on the side of the road every weekend to get their hands on one of their freshly baked goods. On my to-do list will be to reserve a spot for the Sourdough Pîzza Evenings they are hosting in the summer. Wasn’t lucky enough last summer, so keeping my fingers crossed that I can get my name on the list this summer!

5- Orleans Brewing Co.: So Brian discovered this local brewery at the beginning of the pandemic when it got easier and safer to order directly from the breweries rather than going to LCBO, and let’s just say that he’s been quite happy about it! OBC have some great beers and they also offer local delivery, sometime even on the same day. Talk about awesome customer service! We haven’t been out to the brewery for food yet but our friend Phil did, many times, and every time he’s there he posts whatever he’s having on Instagram and it always look so delicious. So this is also on my to-do list for the next few months. Now if we could only have a babysitter for a night out at the brewery!

6- Cucina Da Vito: This has been our other go-to place this winter. Fresh and amazingly delicious Italian pasta. Brian has tried different dishes, his favorite one being the Penne alla Speck, while I’ve kept ordering the same thing over and over. Their gnocchi dish has ruined any other pasta dish for me, it’s like eating a cloud! Like literally, and I couldn’t get tired of it. We haven’t had dinner on-site in a while now, but their restaurant is beautiful and classic, and I can’t wait to go back. The take-out menu is great so if you don’t feel like cooking tonight or tomorrow and you’re hungry for a delicious meal, give them a call and you will be amazed.

7- La Ha Tacos: If you know me then you know I could easily eat tacos every day and I would be happy, like realllllly happy. La Ha Tacos is a local food truck that happens to be 3 minutes away from my workplace and they have the best tacos in Ottawa. The warm tortilla chips and fresh salsa, and the Hibiscus Tea are just the best way to lead to my favorite dish, the Chicken Taco. La Ha Tacos’ food truck is usually closed for the winter and it breaks my heart every year, but this year they found a location not too far away where they kept on serving their amazing food during the winter. Visit their website to place your order in advance and then simply pick it up and enjoy!

There’s a few other places that I want to try in the upcoming weeks, Gongfu Bao on Bank Street in Ottawa, Cantina Gia for Italian food, Brauwerk Hoffman, a new brewery in Rockland only a few minutes away from home, and Sundae School, for some awesome ice cream!

I’m ALWAYS up to try new food or restaurants, so if you have any recommendations for me, please send them my way! And I will be sending a 50$ gift card to the place of your choice from the list above to one lucky follower who shares my post and leaves a recommendation in the comment section. What better way to start year 2 of the pandemic than with free food or free beers. Cheers everyone, stay safe and enjoy spring time, I know I will!

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magic tree: covid edition

Christmas is just around the corner, and usually, this time of year, I’m already in full Christmas mode and ready for December. This year, and until a few days ago, I still wasn’t sure I would be able to turn things around and bring some Christmas joy to our home given the pandemic. It’s been tough lately, imaging what Christmas will look like, knowing we won’t be able to celebrate with our families. So let’s say that 2020 definitely needed a bit of magic, and our family Christmas tree day delivered this year again as it was the perfect start to our holiday season!

Christmas Day is usually a family affair in our home. Every year, we drive about an hour to go to Ian’s Christmas Adventure Farm to get our tree, and we usually bring as many people with us as our two cars will allow, and then we have this huge family gathering at home where our family help us decorate our tree and stay over for diner. This year it was different, as it was only the four of us, for the first time ever.

So the boys have been anxiously awaiting for the Magic Tree weekend for a while. I was actually scared for a moment that it wouldn’t even happen, but luckily we were fortunate enough that one of our favorite holiday traditions wasn’t cancelled due to COVID.

For the last 8 years now, we’ve been visiting Ian`s Christmas Tree Farm on the last Saturday of November… and I couldn’t imagine this tradition to stop, ever.

As most of you know, I kinda LOVE anything and everything that is magical. I can actually tell you without lying that I still believe in Christmas and all of its magic. Like I am not stupid… I do know, but even if I know, I still continue to believe, and that makes me so happy. I actually never really stopped believing, and for the last 10 years it’s been stronger than ever… definitely because of the boys and the way they love Christmas and believe in it more than anything in the world. They have absolutely no doubts, and that is the best feeling in the world, watching them being brightened and lightened up when they talk or hear about Christmas, and Santa, and Willy, their Elf on the shelf.

As I said, I am not stupid, and I am not naïve either, so I know this will come to an end, eventually… and I kind of feel this might be the year, and this may be their last ‘real’ magical Christmas. They haven’t started to ask questions yet, and I am glad they didn’t, cause I am sooo not ready for them questions as I would have no idea what to say. So instead of thinking of when this will happen, I decided to simply live in the moment and cherish every single drop of it while I can.

So all that to say that we have a special tradition when it comes to choosing our Christmas tree called the Magic Tree, and that’s what I actually wanted to share with you today. Here’s how you find a Magic Tree: you walk around all the trees at Ian’s Christmas Tree Farm and suddenly a magical tree will appear and that’s your magic tree! How do you know it’s yours? Easy, there’s going to be some reindeer fur bags with your kids’ names on it stacked right in the tree!

Now, here’s how the magic actually happens! So we made it to the Christmas Tree Farm, we walked for ever, for over 45 minutes in various different fields, until we reached the far end of the farm, way further than where the wagon has ever brought us over the years. We walked until Brian and I found the perfect tree. When we see a nice one, we can’t even say out loud that this is possibly the one, cause if we do, we’ll be immediately reminded twice that we can’t decide which tree to get, but we have to find it…

This year, my mom, Frank and Bry’s dad weren’t there to tell us every time we’d find a potential tree that we should get a smaller one… nope, we were on our own for the first time, like two idiots looking at 13 footers, asking each other if this would fit in our living room after a little trim, when we actually have 9 feet ceilings. Well, after considering all the big trees, we were reasonable enough and found the perfect one (yeah, it ended up needing a good 2 feet trim, and it’s still huge, but we love it!).

So once we found it, I made the boys walk further away, still looking for the Magic Tree, while I placed the fur bags in our tree. Then they walked back until they found the tree, and that’s when the MAGIC happened! As usual, there was a stuffed animal in each bag, which they happen to love with all of their heart, so that’s a plus in bringing joy to the Magic Tree tradition! Their little faces light up immediately and their laughters make me cry every time. From the moment they see it, they get so excited and so protective of their tree. It’s only for us, and we CAN’T leave without it! This year, after they found the tree, Brian actually realized how massive it was, and then told me it was probably too big for our house… he said it so just me would hear, but Logan heard, and immediately said ‘NO, it’s ours, it’s our Magic Tree, we have to bring it home’. So we did.

It was such a good day. It was… like you know it’s a good day when you park right beside the Stittsville Griswold’s at a Christmas Tree Farm! And on our way back, Liam said that the first thing he was going to do once at home would be to wash his hands, put his Christmas pyj and then spend the rest of the day in the living room looking at the tree.

On Sunday morning I was chatting with Logan and he told me that he hoped the Magic Tree would never stop. I told him it wouldn’t. And that’s the truth. No matter what age my boys will be, I will always bring them with us to find the Magic Tree. And hopefully, one day they will too!

Christmas will definitely be different this year. For so many reasons. But you know what, let’s not compare to any other years, and let’s try to enjoy what we have, and let’s celebrate while staying safe, and it’s going to be magical, you know why? Cause it’s Christmas! Merry Christmas everyone!

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a masked halloween

So I remember seeing a meme a few months ago that said ‘Wear a mask, save Halloween’. Well, I guess we didn’t wear them enough because here we are, it’s Halloween week, and we won’t be trick or treating this year.  

I love Halloween, maybe more than any other holidays, but I understand what’s happening out there, and I think it’s for the best, and that it’s safer to skip the door to door for this year. So we continue to roll with the punches this pandemic has been throwing at us, including a big one last week when we lost someone close to us that we loved very very much. So we’ll continue to adjust accordingly and deal with everything the best we can. 

Trick or treating or not, this is still Halloween… so our family costumes are ready and we will be hosting a physical distancing Halloween street parade… with proper measures in place to ensure everyone’s safety, which, sadly, means no candy! So my two little dragons will be wearing their mask and walking down the street to show off their costume to other kids in the neighbourhood. Have you ever seen dragons with masks? Well, come to our parade and you will!

The Halloween talks usually start in early August at our house, and although I already knew back then I would probably not let the boys trick or treat, I still told them they needed to come up with good costume ideas. So back then, they were in a ‘How to train your dragons phase’, and they decided that this would be our theme this year. I’ve always wanted a family themed costume, but Brian is usually pretty hard to convince when it comes to Halloween costume (especially family themed one). Well I guess the boys were pretty convincing cause they were able to get him to dress up and participate in our family costume this year, which made me very happy. The deal was that we would all dress up, have a dragon’s day and party all day, but now that we are going to be doing a parade, it remains to be seen if he’s actually going to dress up or not on Halloween day. But I think he will!

So the plan for Halloween day is to start with dragon’s pumpkin pancakes, some games, including Halloween Bingo, another round of watching either How to train your dragon or Harry Potter (I vote for HP), and then do the neighborhood parade. So to get ready for this, lately, I’ve been spending most of my evenings making some How to train your dragon’s costumes for the four of us. The boys are so happy with the results. Well, who wouldn’t be with some light-up dragon’s wings!

So I am going to be Astrid, Brian will be Harold, and we will have our two little dragons with us! They’re not very well trained yet, but I guess that’s a work in progress! I’ve got my Astrid sword, Harold has his Viking hat, and our two dragons have some light-up wings ready to go for Saturday. Halloween 2020, we are ready for you! Happy Halloween everyone!

P.S. Harold, could you please buy me some mini chocolate bars since there will be none to steal from the kids?

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Pumpkins and pajama’s

I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers, said Anne Shirley. Well so am I! There is something magical about the changing colors of the leaves, the early darkness of the night and all the excitement of Halloween; which has make my heart burst every October since as far as I can remember. And you know what else makes my heart burst? Festive pajamas! I couldn’t pass on the opportunity of sharing my favorite finds of the pumpkin season, so here comes the cutest pajamas you could ever find!

And since I love the season so much, I gotta share this product as well as it brought me so much happiness! Here’s my new MINI PUMPKIN WAFFLE MAKER. It’s just too good to be through and yet, I have one and I love it! You have to get once for yourself. Liam said the pumpkin waffles tasted like perfection… That’s my boy!

So order up some awesome pajamas, whip up a batch of Mini Pumpkin Waffles and put on Hocus Pocus to put you in a festive mood! Still not sure how Halloween will look like this year, but I will be there for all of it. 

What will you be this year? Don’t let anything or anyone stop you from celebrating Halloween. Come on! Worst come to worst, just celebrate at home with your immediate family and kids. Fall and Winter may be tough for some of us with the COVID cases going up again and the restrictions increasing, so I think that we need to take every opportunities we get to do something out of it and have a little fun. That’s the key to maintaining some sort of wellness! So dress up and do something fun on October 31st! Here we’re putting together a physical-distancing-costume-parade for kids on our street! So can you guess our costumes for this year? I’ll share some pictures on Halloween Day!

Happy October everyone!

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spicy pesto chicken on the barbie

Summer may be kind of over already, but it’s never too late for a nice BBQ! This Spicy Pesto Chicken recipe has been one of our favorite and go-to BBQ meal all summer long and it’s so good that I have to share! 

You can do this recipe with any cut of chicken: whole, breast or even thighs. Our go-to has been with a whole chicken cooked on a beer can chicken holder! I suggest marinating the chicken at least 4 hours to really get all the flavours inside. Serve with grilled veggies and some pesto aioli.

This recipe is perfect for entertaining or for a school night meal. Prepare everything in advance and just cook when you’re ready. So much flavours! It’s September, but there’s still plenty of time left to enjoy some more BBQ, so let’s do it and cook this one soon!

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the most perfect weekend in prince edward county

This could actually be a really short blog post, as all I could do is post all the wonderful pictures we took in Prince Edward County and tell you this: ‘’Just go and live it for yourself, you’ll love it!!!’’ But since I love sharing our experiences and trips with all of you, here’s a review of our awesome summer vacation in the County.

So just like everyone else, the pandemic ruined all of our travel plans – Disney World last March, Canada’s East Coast in July, a weekend in Chicago in August, and our planned weekend in New York in December. We quarantined pretty hard over here for what seemed to be like forever, but the itch to travel was always there, and then it kinda took over by early July. We were thinking about possibly traveling with the boys, but then decided we weren’t ready for them to re-join the real world just yet. So we opted to travel to the Prince Edward County for the second summer in a row, without kids this time, after lots of considerations regarding the different public health measures we would have to follow. We figured out that since it was not too far from home, and that most activities would be done outside, it was safe enough for us to go there. 

After settling on our destination, we started to look for available places to stay. I would have loved to stay at my beloved The June Motel once again, but sadly, they were fully booked for that weekend. Luckily, we were able to find the most exquisite Airbnb, located right downtown Picton. Oh, and we did not traveled alone, we invited our friends Mat and Vero to tag alone and they said yes, which made our road trip so much better!

We left early Saturday morning, with Starbucks’ lattes in hands as well as with a stupid song in our heads! The road up there from Ottawa is quite nice and pretty. You can take the highway and save on time, or take the beautiful scenic route by the water and then get to Picton on a ferry. I recommend doing that for the way up there, and then taking the highway on the way back, just like we did. We chatted the entire time until we made it into the county. Brian had organized a schedule for the three days we were there, and our first stop was at Parson’s Brewery for lunch and beers. 

So I am going to be giving some awards in this blog… And Parson’s wins for the Best Brewery Terrace I’ve ever been to. This place is awesome and so fun to be at. It has so much characters, with the wooden beams and wooden tables, the barn, the van, the people, and so much more. The vibe is unique and exactly what we were all looking for for our first stop. They have great food and great beers and the best location for you to enjoy it. It was a perfect start to our little vacation. It was Mat and Vero’s first time in the County and after visiting Parson’s, they were already sold on PEC.

We then visited our first winery and had wine at Three Dog Winery. We sat by the vines and enjoyed the live music and the summer heat – all weekend long it was hot and sunny, close to 40 degrees every day in the County, so let me tell you that we enjoyed that canopy at our picnic table at Three Dog. Three Dogs is a super laid back winery, with such friendly staff and colourful place. The homemade wood oven pizza looked and smelled delicious, but we had to pass since we just had lunch.

Then it was back on the road for a short drive to Kinsip, House of Fine Spirits. When we visited Kinsip last year it was love at first sight – and you can read all about it here in my picton and the power of pink blog post. This year was no exception. We had booked our tasting online and were immediately seated outside in large Adirondack chairs, ready to try them delicious drinks and spirits. The experience at Kinsip was fun, relaxing, and again, such a great start to our weekend without kids! Kinsip is definitely a must if you visit the County, and they by far win the Most Beautiful Spirits Bottles Ever award. Like I don’t even mind when Brian keeps one of his Kinsip bottles out, they’re that pretty! I also love the old house, as well as the entire setting with chickens running all around the tasting area. We only wished we could have stayed for a second tasting but it was fully booked on that day! Instead, we walked around the house and had some amazing food in the back yard: smoked brisket, pork side ribs and sausages… and that’s Big Mike’s BBQ! This food is out of this world! That BBQ was worth the drive alone. I was literally pissed that Brian didn’t order more. We should have brought some back to our Airbnb for a late night snack! If you visit the county, visit Big Mike’s BBQ, and bring me back some brisket. Okay, it’s a close one here, cause we had some pretty tasty BBQ later in the trip, but thinking back about all the food we had, Big Mike’s BBQ wins the Best BBQ in the County award for their perfectly smoked beef brisket.  

So after a brewery, a winery and a distillery, it was time for me to go settle in our Airbnb. We had rented the second floor of what used to be a bakery, and I have to say that I have never stayed in such a fun, eclectic and interesting place! I honestly felt we were in a cool girly apartment that you find in sitcoms or movies! Everywhere you looked, there was something interesting… from the fresh butter croissants in the morning to the funky parlour where we chatted all evening long, it was perfect for us. It is located directly on Picton’s Main Street, right in front of 555 Brewery, so we could literally walk anywhere we wanted to go. The best thing when you drink and eat all day long is having the ability to park the car and walk where you wanna go! So evening walks were mandatory! And that’s what we did every night, go out to dinner and then walk around town. A walk that ended up at 555 Brewery on most nights.

On our first day, we decided to have dinner at The Acoustic Grill, just a few blocks away from our Airbnb. It was the perfect weather for our first patio dinner of the summer (craziness, we were in late July and that was our first dinner on a patio this summer!?). We had such a great time there, where we had local beers, local wine, amazing pub fare, and the best French fries I may have ever had. All I could think of was how Logan would have loved to eat there as there’s no one who enjoys eating fries like he does. So guess what you can do with the best fries? The best poutine! OMG it was good… Next time we go to Picton, The Acoustic Pub will be on our to-do list that’s for sure. This time around, due to COVID’s restrictions, there was none, but apparently there is usually some live music there, which would make this place even more awesome as there is nothing like a dinner at a pub with live music in the background. Next time, hopefully! 

The next morning we all slept in and then sent Brian on a coffee hunt on Main Street… and he came back with the most delicious lattes and white chocolate raspberry scones that was ever made. Those scones deserve an award that’s for sure! The place he went to is called The Bean Counter Café, and if you stay in Picton, you need to go get your morning coffee and breakfast there. It was so good we actually went back for the same order the following two mornings. Yep, the scones and coffee were that good!

So on that first day, as soon as that coffee kicked in, we were out the door and ready to explore some more. Brian had again a full day organized for us. We started by hitting Prince Eddy’s Brewery for a very early first beer! We were the first one on the patio enjoying some drinks at about 10:45 am! Meanwhile, while they were trying out different beers, I sat patiently until the food joint opened, Slight Peppa. Oh my, oh my, this place completely blew my mind. I believe it was the first time I actually had Caribbean fusion food and I about just died right then and there as it was so good. We shared Jerk Chicken Baos, Crispy Garlic Beef and Chickpeas Fritters. All out of this world! Slight Peppa definitely wins the Best New Find award as I didn’t even know the place existed, I had no expectations, but I couldn’t stop eating once I started as it was so good. Would go back to Picton just to have some more, and so you should!

Our second stop of the day was at Huff Estates, and we were lucky enough to score the best seat in the house for our wine tasting. Life is good when you have a glass of wine in front of you while overlooking the vineyard that produced the grapes to make it. Once again, didn’t get to eat the wood oven pizza, but wish I had. It’s the only thing that would have made this visit any better! Next time for sure!

Then, we visited Trail Estate Winery. So much to say about this beautiful and modern new winery. We had the privilege to have a private tasting right in the cellar, and what an experience that was. We were right there, drinking wine, with wine barrels full of wine all around us! We had such a great time and learned so much about the land, the Sproll family, the winery, the winemaker, how it all started, the way they make their wine and the passion behind it. We loved and enjoyed every minute of it. We chatted with Alex for what seems to be like forever, and also tried all of their wine. We all loved the vibe of the place almost as much as their wine! We left Trail Estate such on a high, so excited about the wine tasting experience we had just had. The hour we spent in the cellar with Alex was the best – well it was 41 degree Celsius outside and like 15 in the Cellar, so that was awesome, but listening to him talk about his wine was so much fun and inspiring. So since I am giving awards today, this place definitely deserves one… and like, although I’ve been talking about beers, and drinks, and wine, as you all probably know, I do not drink, at all, so this award comes from Brian after I asked him about his favorite wine from our trip. When I asked him that, he immediately mentioned four wine, including the skin fermented Riesling from Trail… so for me, when I hear skin fermented wine, while also thinking about all the different wine they tried during that tasting, including some unfiltered hazy wine, some orange wine, and some type of wine none of us had ever heard about before, I feel like this place deserves the Most Creative Wine award. If you go to PEC, go try all the craft and colourful wine at Trail Estate! Thank you so much Alex, you have such a wonderful winery and products, thanks a lot for the time you spent with us and for the wonderful opportunity to visit the Estate. 

So by the time we left Trail, some of us were a little tipsy, but we’re in wine County after all, so no time to lose as another winery was waiting for us! The moment we arrived at The Grange of Prince Edward Winery, it literally took my breath away. This place is simply gorgeous, like the most beautiful farm I’ve ever seen. We didn’t have enough time to visit it last year, although so many people had told us to go there, so there was no way we were skipping it this year. The scenery at the entrance of the estate is simply wonderful, and right there while driving towards the vineyard, I knew this was going to be a special visit.

This – I would guess – 200 years old barn is huge and so beautiful. It’s like perfection. Inside, you will find the wine shop and the tasting bar. The Grange totally hit the bullseye with me with their wine tasting experience! Once at the tasting bar, you select the wine you’d like to try, and they package it up in the cutest little box, where you’ll find a wine glass as well as your four selected wine, all perfectly labelled with the nicest tags. Simply well done! So we walked out with our wine tasting kits and found the perfect spot to enjoy our wine with a view of the vineyard. We took a thousand pictures, and then it was time for some fabulous cocktails. Right by the vineyard, there was this perfectly refurbished trailer called Old Salt Cocktails. By then, while they were all getting tipsy, I was getting hungry, so when Brian and Mat said they were going to go get some drinks at Old Salt, I asked them to bring me back some food. Well they came back with some colourful and delicious cocktails (Brian brought me a homemade lemonade, and it was not one of the best I’ve ever had, it was THE best I’ve ever had), as well as some gastronomic hot dogs. The sausages were so good we decided to go for seconds. I am not usually a big fan of hot dogs, but those were something else. So guess what, after a wine tasting kit, two hot dogs and a drink each, well my three musketeers decided to go get a glass of their favorite wine, but I actually didn’t mind, cause I loved being there and didn’t want to leave. Sitting by a vineyard like this makes me appreciate winemaking so much more, even if I don’t drink it myself. Brian loved The Grange’s Cabernet Franc and kept on talking about the brand new wine, ‘’not even bottled yet’’, that Maggie made them try. While The Grange should definitely win an award for their Cabernet Franc, I fell in love with the place, with the old rustic barn, the gorgeous scenery, the mother-daughter story, the lovely wine kits, so I’m giving them the Picture-Perfect Winery award. Can’t wait to visit the County again and go say hi to Maggie. If you go to PEC, you should do the same, as you’ll be blown away! 

We stayed at The Grange for quite a while, so by the time we left, it was too late to go visit another vineyard, so we decided to find a patio for some more drinks. Vero wanted to have drinks at The Drake in Wellington, but we got there and it was fully booked. So we remembered that our amazing Airbnb hostess Jenny had recommended another place in Wellington, a new spot from which ‘’she had heard good things about’’. So we drove a few hundred meters and made it to The Lakeside. Oh. My. God. You will for sure be seeing me at The Lakeside very soon, I promise. I still can’t believe I didn’t know about this place. It’s a fully renovated 70’s motel, decorated in black and white, with a beautiful modern pool, as well as 4 glamping tents, all lined up in front of a huge Caribbean-esque patio, which is right by the water. I’m in love! I actually felt I was down south for a moment. It’s truly a masterpiece. The size of the patio overlooking the Lake is so impressive. They really thought of everything, with DIY fire pits, blankets, s’more kits and so much more (and I will be using it all when I’ll be going!). I hadn’t realize that Lake Ontario’s water was that aqua colour, but it was stunning just sitting there, hearing the waves hitting the shore below us and overlooking the water. The drinks were awesome, and pink! And the pizza was delicious – yep, I finally had some pizza! I tried to take many pictures but it was super windy, so they’re not exactly up to what we were seeing live. But that’s okay, I’ll be back soon, hopefully for a stay, if not, definitely for a drink!

After that, we went back to Picton, walked around a little, and then ended up at 555 Brewery for a beer before going back to our Airbnb. The nightlife in Picton was almost non-existent. Not sure if its COVID related, since last year with the boys we actually had early diners and went back to The June pretty early every night, but it seems like everything was shut down by 9 pm. So by 9:15 we were in our condo, which luckily was super nice and had the best parlour to lounge in, but being kids free for 3 days, I would have really like to stay out late at least one night! So we stayed in our parlour for a few hours, Brian opened a bottle of Pinot Noir from Trail Estate, and we chatted about how perfect our day was until bed time.

So the morning came, Mat went to the coffee shop to get us our lattes and scones, and then we all visited a few local shops as well as grabbed a few sandwiches for our scheduled afternoon picnic. We left Picton and headed right down to Closson Chase Winery. As soon as you arrived, all you see is the most perfect purple barn that was ever made – where they just happen to make perfect wine. The moment we arrived, we were greeted by Chris Braney, Closson Chase’s Brand Ambassador, and from there, we had the wine tasting experience of a lifetime. We sat by the grapes, chatting with Chris while drinking Rosé, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. Chris took his time telling us stories about his past, his Irish roots and his youth, his love for the grapes and apples, as well as his life long search for the perfect land, soil and weather for him to start growing is own grapes; which is the reason why he left home and bought a land in PEC. He told us all about Closson Chase and the process and complexity of making great wine in PEC. He made us taste the difference between the wine they produce with the County grapes and the grapes they bring over from the Niagara region. His stories were the best, he had so much to tell us, while also being interested in hearing what we had to say, answering all of our questions, while sitting and drinking with us for hours like we were old friends. I could have sat there, listening to him talk about wine all day long. He spoke about wine with so much passion that I actually had to have some. So I drank a full glass of Rosé by the time they tasted the Rosé, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Grande Cuvée Chardonnay and Grande Cuvée Pinot Noir. I was so proud of myself! Chris really wanted me to try the Grande Cuvée Pinot Noir, but I was still sipping and enjoying my Rosé, so I said no, but I began to wish I’d drank red wine when he started to talk about that wine, describing every little details of it, of how it’s made and how it tastes, and you could feel there was something special about that specific bottle that got him particularly proud, and there was. They only use the best grapes to make this Grande Cuvée wine, which includes some of Chris’ own grapes. Right there when he said that, I wanted to cry from happiness for him. He was so proud about the wine, and so should he. We tried many different wine that weekend, and I have to say that as per my three travel partners, that Pinot Noir was at the top of their list as the most memorable and best one they’ve tried. So since we’re in wine County and some of you probably want to hear about the wine, and not only about the nice barns we’ve visited, here some prestigious wine awards based on what I’ve heard on the way back home the next morning. The Grande Cuvée wine from Closson Chase wins it all. They all chose the Closson Chase’s Grande Cuvée Pinot Noir and Grande Cuvée Chardonnay as their top two wine. Brian actually said that the Pinot Noir was now one of his favorite wine ever, while Vero and Mat mentioned that the Chardonnay was probably their favorite Chardonnay ever. Let me tell you one thing about my friends, well they drink a lot of good wine, so it made me sooo happy when they said that, cause deep down, I really wanted them to say that the beautiful-purple-barn-winery was making great wine, and they did, they make perfect wine! Congrats Closson Chase, you win the County’s Best Wine award.

So after we had drank more than our fair share of wine with Chris, he sent us at the back of the vineyard, where he said we would find the best spot for a picnic. We got there with our picnic basket, sat on a blanket, poured ourselves some more Chardonnay, and enjoyed our picnic while being surrounded by vines and grapes, talking about how incredible the last two hours had been. 

Our time at Closson Chase really put the rest of our day to shame! Yet, we still had a great time visiting some more winery, eating pizza and drinking wine overlooking the Lake. It was such a great day in PEC, and such a pleasure meeting Chris Barney. Chris, thank you again for your time and generosity, we will be seeing you soon at Cold Creek Vineyards since visiting you and your family, as well as tasting your cider, is at the top of our list for our next trip to the County!  

Our journey in PEC was coming to an end, and I was kinda happy when the boys decided to go to bed early as it gave me a chance to catch up with my girlfriend! Vero and I chatted until late that night, like we did when we were high school girls! It was great to go away with them, last time it was Vegas, this time PEC, who knows were our next destination will be! Surely somewhere there’ll be wine, but anywhere we go, I’m good with it, as I know we’ll be having a great time. 

Prince Edward County, we simply love you. We all fell in love with you last year and I can’t imagine a summer where we won’t be visiting you. Our boys can’t wait to visit your beautiful beaches again, eat ice cream every day and have pancakes for dinner. And we can’t wait to visit again, feel the welcoming vibe of your region and enjoy everything you have to offer.

We’re in love and we will keep on coming back. Who knows, maybe sooner than later, as Chris told us that his favorite time of the year in PEC was actually October. We’ll see! Cheers everyone!

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homemade hand soap

So about 18 months ago, when things were totally normal, without even knowing what was going to hit us, I decided to start doing some homemade hand soap… and boy did it come in handy since March with all this sanitizing frenzy. While the store soap shelves are empty, well there’s plenty in my house!

I’m sharing my Foamy Hand Soap recipe with you, so you can all start making it at home. It’s soft, it smells great and it’s satisfying to make! Sure, it might seem a bit expensive at first, but once you buy the products, it will give you about 10-15 bottles of soap. PLUS, it’s really great on sensitive skin and there’s no chemicals, as it’s entirely made of products you can name.

You can even get the kids involve in making the soap mixture. A quick DIY afternoon and you’ll get some fresh soap out of it! I will provide a link below of the products that I’ve been using since I started. I find that ordering through Amazon right now might be the easiest way to get your hands on these, since running from store to store is definitely not your best option right now.

Foamy Hand Soap

Bottle: You will need an empty foam pump bottles (I reused all the ones I had from Bath & Body Works) or any foam bottle you might have. I will also list some new ones you can buy to get you started.

Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap

Vegetable Glycerin

Essential oils 

Distilled water

Foam pump bottle

How to: 

Pour 1/4 cup of Castile Soap in the bottle.

Add 2 Tbsp. of Vegetable Glycerin

Then, 10-15 drops of essential oils

Fill (up to the line on the bottle) with distilled water.

Mix slowly, add the pump and wash away!

For the essential oils, lately, been using Young Living’s Thieves as it has antimicrobial properties, it’s great for the immune system and it’s really energizing. So exactly what you need right now! I also love making lemon and lavender soap for my kitchen soap bottle. It smells clean and fresh. Or grapefruit and peppermint for the boys bathroom. Their hands smell like heaven! And they don’t complain when I ask them to go wash their hands about 100 times a day! So many possibilities! Try it with your favorite essential oils and I’m sure it’s going to be a success. If you need more information about essential oils, send me a quick message and I’ll get you started! 

Enjoy, and go wash your hands now!

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school is out, summer is IN

Guess what! This is finally the end of a short but unbelievably loonnnnnng school year!!! I have to say that I think homeschooling was almost a success for a little while, I am very proud of my boys, they did very well, but I think that it was time for all of us to take a little break and start enjoying summer. The kids have been home for the past 3 months, and they’ve been working pretty hard on some days, until NOW. I want them to forget about homeschooling now and just have fun. Same for me, I think I need to recharge a little bit. Brian as well. I could really feel in the last few weeks that they too needed a well-deserved break, so I told them they would only have to do some reading for the last week of school. They were so happy about it, and thought I was such a cool teacher! Of course I am! 

For the next 2 months, I plan on swimming every single day, reading so many books and playing with the boys. Summer will be different this year, that’s for sure, like not just summer, everything will be different, but I do not want to keep focusing on that, I want us to figure out how to have an amazing time in the new reality, and I am sure that we can. Last year at this time we had road trips to Picton, Kingston and Boston lined up. This year we have no plans, no vacations booked, and have no clue what we’re gonna be doing for the next little while, and that’s ok. I kind of appreciated being just the four of us during the quarantine, and to be honest, I realized that this was something we didn’t do enough before. We usually always have plans, or places to go, or people to be with… like, all the time. The pandemic really made us slow down and enjoy each other and what we have a little more, and I like that. That being said, I can’t wait to see all of my friends, and family, and have you all over for dinner, and finally re-book my trip to Disney World, or plan another trip, somewhere else… cause I am still me, but now that I was forced to stay home for a while, I kind of realized how much I love it!  

So, with that being said, even if we haven’t made definite plans for the summer, I’m always down for a fun Summer Quarantine Bucket List!

It’s a new summer, full of possibilities and fun in the sun, and I plan on making the most of it. My boys are growing fast, and soon enough there’ll be summer jobs and friends to take over my time with them. So enjoying the moment and making memories is what it’s all about… I wish you all a fun and long summer! See you all by the pool or at the cottage!

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a different kind of easter

So it’s Easter morning and it clearly doesn’t feel like it. The egg hunt is about to start, and although I still haven’t had my coffee yet, I can already tell you that it’s going to be one of the weirdest Easter Sunday ever… 

Life is turned upside down and even if we can’t be with our family this weekend, we decided that we were still going to be celebrating.

I usually celebrate every chances I get, but this year, for Easter, things are a little different, and I wasn’t sure if I would actually do it… but guess what, no virus is gonna stop me from Easter! It’s going to involve video chatting to maintain the required physical distancing, but still, Easter is on, and I can’t wait to see my family over Zoom tonight!

Here’s a few things we’ve made the last couple of days to prepare for Easter weekend:

-Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs eggs

-Hand bunny puppets (seriously, 5 minutes crafts are the best)

-Egg carton painted flower wreath

-Bunny sugar cookie cake

-Took a thousand walks to see Easter decorations in our neighbourhood

-Read cute Easter books with the boys

We don’t have any plans today, other than the necessary Egg Hunt and our annual Chicken & Ribs Easter dinner. I might actually bake some cinnamon buns for breakfast, or it might just be Lucky Charms! Who knows!

Chicken & Ribs is a long lasting Easter tradition at my in-laws. And even if we can’t be together tonight, we are all cooking our own chicken and ribs and we’ll be eating all together via video chat. It’s in like 10 hours, and I am already wondering what I’m gonna wear. Please Easter Jesus, please don’t let me be lazy and wear my pyjama again. No, seriously, probably going to try to dress up for this one, I swear! (proooobably not gonna happen!!!)

I miss my friends, my family and everyone else in my life so much. But the best thing to do right now is to stay home and do our part. Thanks to everyone else who can’t stay home and have to go to work to do their part, we’re so thankful for all you do.

So if your plans got cancelled as well for Easter, don’t stress out about it, and don’t be sad that it’s not going to be a perfect Easter this year… just enjoy the moment and the fact that you are healthy and have a safe place to eat all of your chocolate treats and Cadbury eggs.

Stay home, stay safe, and stay healthy. Happy Easter My Lemon Drop Life family xox

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