I’ve always knew I would love to be a Mom, but what I didn’t anticipated is how much I would. Maybe except for the lack of sleep here and there, the regular crawling into my bed at 3am and all the worrying about school, friends, and what’s going to happen at the teenage years! But overall, it’s so much more than what I could have ever hoped for! Which makes me appreciate my mom even more!
You know how I love celebration, and thinking about my mom and my boys, I have to say that for me it doesn’t really get any better than celebrating motherhood! So here’s my Mother’s Day Gift Guide, for all the amazing moms in your life!
1-Ciao Bella shoes: I’m totally in love with the Soludos brand. Their shoes are so cute and fun. These would be a great Mother’s Day gift for sure!
2-Straw purse: Got this purse for our Disney vacation and I can’t believe how many people asked me where I got it! I lied a few time, but the truth is that it’s from Wish! You can wear it with everything. I will be using it all summer long. And you and your Mom should too!
3-Anthro Latte Matte Bowls: These are my favorite bowls and they are now available in matte colours. Mixed them up, colour coordinate your kitchen and get ready for upcoming holidays! I guarantee you that your cereals will taste better with these.h
4-Kate Spade Mom bracelet: This delicate bracelet is giving me all the feels. Isn’t it perfect? Wish my two babies had enough money in their piggy bank to get me this for Mother’s Day.
5-Aqua Tote: A mom can NEVER have too many bags. Men, if there’s one thing you absolutely need to know about women, it’s this! Love this Indigo Tote for everyday use. Big enough to store everything y1ou need plus a bag of wipes, a baggies of fishies, an iPad, some stickers and an extra sweater just in case
6-Instax: You know you want one. And this Mother’s Day is the perfect excuse to ask for one. Retro, cute and so much fun! If only the films weren’t so expensive. But YOLO!
7-SMEG Espresso Machine: “I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it!” Well, Arianna, it really doesn’t work like that in my world… but I’m still putting it on the list as the ultimate Mother’s Day Gift! Would love to get this one so bad. This may even be the next impulsive purchase I make!!!
9-Essential Oils: Every Mama needs essential oils. Get her a Young Living Starter Kit and she will thank you for ever. I swear. Talk about a gift that keeps on giving. Everyone wants a healthier and safer lifestyle. Why not give it to her. Let me know if you want to know more about essential oils or if you would like to order a kit for the world’s best mom in your life!
10-Rings: My favorite items on this list! I already have these and you should too. I’m a sucker for monograms, and when I saw these rings, I just knew they were meant for me. I got the boys’ name stamped on 1mm rings and I can’t take them off. Super delicate and discreet, yet I can’t stop looking at them.
This is the best Mother’s Day gift list you will find, but the very best way to celebrate your mom is by spending time with her and never stop finding ways to make new memories. The rest is just a cherry on top! Happy Mother’s Day to all of you moms.
After a break from all the Disney magic on Tuesday, Wednesday was the day we were visiting Animal Kingdom, my favorite park during our last family trip and still my favorite one this time around. It’s kind of weird for me to admit that Magic Kingdom is not my favorite park anymore, as it definitely was (and it was by far!!!) when I was a kid. The castle still makes me cry, from the moment I see it walking in in the morning to the moment I see it walking out at night, but Animal Kingdom has something different to offer, not sure if it’s the surroundings, the nature, the animals, or the overall vibe, but it’s simply the best.
Since we didn’t have any Fast Passes booked that morning, we decided not to rush out the door and had planned to get to the park a little later, at about 9:30 rather than our usual 8:30 from the first two parks. Big mistake!!! First, we had to wait 20 minutes in the parking lot before we could get on one of the trams that gets you to the park. Then, after we made it to the park, the line went on forever to get inside. To make matters worse, the waiting time for Avatar’s Flight of Passage, the ride everyone most wanted to do, was already at 195 minutes when we got there. Well, as much as I wanted to do it, there’s no way I was gonna wait over 3 hours when I just got to the park with so many things I want to do and see. Oh, and with two kids in tow, I wasn’t willing to risk my sanity that early in the morning for a ride! But my father-in-law did! More on that later!
The first ride we did after splitting up was It’s Tough to Be a Bug, which is a fun an entertaining 3D show based on the Bug’s Life movie. We all loved the show, as well as the waiting line to get there, which brings you around, beside, through and under the Tree of Life. I have to say that I am in awe for the Tree of Life, as it’s as beautiful as it gets. Looking at it simply makes me happy, and makes me want to be a better person, and live better, and do greater things, does that make any sense? So as much as I love it, someone loves it even more than I do. If I’m in awe for it, Brian is like next level in awe for it. Most of the pictures or selfies you’ll see from the two of us come from me saying something like ‘hey, let’s take a selfie’. But this time around, he’s the one who asked me ‘hey, can we take a selfie here’. And I’m glad he did, as I think this ended up being one of our best pictures of the entire trip.
After that, while my father-in-law was still not even close to being halfway through the Avatar waiting line, we split up even more, with half of us going on one side for Primeval Whirl and Expedition Everest, and the other half going towards Triceratop Spin (a Dumbo-like ride) and the Boneyard (yeah, I was part of that half!). We ended up spending a long time in the Boneyard, letting the kids run wild. They could have easily stayed there all day long. We actually came back later on since this was all they would talk about. It’s the perfect spot to sit and rest, while letting them have fun running, climbing or going down slides.
So far the day was simply perfect, with some of the best weather to visit a park; a beautiful day, something like 25 degrees Celsius, sunny, with no clouds in sight, but not too hot either. By about 1:30pm, we were starting to get hungry, so we had a quick lunch at Flame Tree BBQ and then met up with Brian’s crew to get ready for our Kilimanjaro Safari, as we all had fast passes for that ride. Like I said earlier in the post, my father-in-law had decided to do the Avatar ride at about 10:30am, and at 2:45pm we finally heard back from him when he texted us that he was next in line. So what was supposed to be a 195 minutes wait actually ended being a 260 minutes wait. Yep, they waited over 4 hours for the ride. They explained that once it was almost their turn, after like 3 hours, something happened, like the ride broke, and then they had to wait almost another hour before they would start it up again. BUT, at least, they got in and then both said it was the best ride ever! They were really impressed by it and told us we should definitely come back later that day to try it, as it was totally worth the wait. Well, I’ll tell you right away that we ended up not doing it later on as the wait time was still over 3 hours when we came back, which is way too long of a wait for kids like mine; especially when they were asking every 15 minutes about the Boneyard where there was actually no waiting line. I would have had a tough time trying to explain that one for 3 hours. Next time for sure, though!
By mid-afternoon, it was time for my favorite ride of the park, the Kilimanjaro Safari. You know you are an over enthusiastic Disney fan when you’d prefer to do the ride in loop rather than going for the real thing in Africa! This ride is simply the best. Actually, thinking about it, it almost makes me want to plan a trip to Africa just to enjoy the sceneries and watch the animals a little bit longer. I truly wish it would have lasted a longer, as it just went by so quickly. I just googled the length of the safari, and it’s actually 22 minutes, which is longer than I thought. We saw so many animals, spotting a few special or rare ones I think. Liam was ecstatic when he finally saw some crocodiles, as he had been looking for one everywhere we’d go ever since we made it to Orlando. Well, of course he was looking, as Brian had told him that we very may see one in Florida, maybe even in our backyard pool. Way to go Brian! So there was like at least ten of them, and you could see that this was too much joy for Liam, telling me ‘‘the crocodiles, there… mommy, look, the crocodiles, take a picture, please, take one… have you taken a picture?’’ with his little over-excited voice. I was so happy for him to finally see a live one. And then, out of nowhere, my 14 years old nephew told us that the ride was fun but that it would be even better if the animals were real. We all looked at each other, wondering if he was kidding, and then all burst out laughing! We were halfway through the ride and all along he thought the animals were fake… we told him they were real, but he still had doubts, that is until we got stuck there for a few minutes as 2 rhinos were blocking the path. They were so close to us we could have probably touched them (apparently it would have been a very bad idea) if we would have wanted! Writing this… I’m bawling. Not because the rhinos scared me or anything, but because I just wish I could go back there, at Animal Kingdom, with my boys, and re-live that day all over again.
We then had two more things to do, first was to go to the Asia section of the park to recreate one of my favorite picture ever, and then to make our way into Pandora’s, the new Avatar land, where we had fast passes for the Na’vi River ride. So we got to Asia, got Liam’s picture in front of the same blue door as in 2014, then stopped for some margaritas, and then made our way to Pandora. The first thing you see is that gigantic rock hanging thing from the movie, which is breathtaking. The boys (and Brian) still haven’t seen the movie, so they didn’t really understood what Pandora was all about, but I have to say that it’s simply beautiful, and clearly a must see, whether you’ve seen the movie or not; there’s nothing quite like it. I actually wish we would have had more than one day to explore everything, so that way I would have had plenty of time to spend wander around the park and do Flight of Passage. So we were in Pandora to ride the Na’vi River, which is an It’s a Small World type of ride, with colours that are simply out of this world. The blend of the flowers, the music, the neon colours everywhere and the kind of jellyfish floating around us was wonderful.
After we were done with the Na’vi River, we had used all of our Fast Passes for the day, done all the rides we wanted to do (except the other Avatar ride), seen the Nemo musical, ate too much Mickey shaped ice-cream bars and popcorn, they had drank enough margaritas to keep themselves hydrated, so we decided to call it a day. A decision I now fully regret! For one, I forgot to buy my Starbucks park mug. I can’t believe I forgot about it. I got one from each park except Animal Kingdom, my favorite one. Seriously, I was so pissed about it when I realized I had actually forgotten to buy it, I cried. Second, I’m a rope drop to fireworks kinda gal and we didn’t even get to watch the night show. And finally, I definitely didn’t take enough pictures (for my taste) on that day.
But you know what, I had a great time at Animal Kingdom, and at the end of the day, being with our family on this trip was the very best. It’s not about where you go or what you do (or the mugs you buy!), but it’s about who you share these moments with. And spending some time with my mom was the best. Animal Kingdom was her favorite too and for the boys to spend so much time with her, throughout the day and the entire week, it was just awesome.
So, as soon as I’m done telling you about our days at the different parks we visited (next will be Epcot), I will be posting a list of all the things you absolutely have to do at Disney, with our favorite rides, what to skip, the best meals we got, the best shows, etc., and guess what will be at the top of the list? Animal Kingdom. If you go to Orlando or Disney, you absolutely have to go to Animal Kingdom. It’s a MUST. And while you’re there, could you PLEASE get me a Starbucks mug?!!!
On our second day, my fav, and obviously everyone’s fav, the day I had longed for over a year, our beautiful Magic Kingdom. The castle, the fireworks, the Dole Whip, Dumbo, Peter Pan, and also, the perfect occasion to finally wear my skirt! Yep, my skirt, which I bought over 3 years ago dreaming of wearing it one day at Magic Kingdom. Well the skirt did not disappoint! And neither did the castle and everything else.
Following a long and hot first day at Hollywood Studio, everyone was very tired, but I still managed to convince them all to wake up super early in the morning for our day at Magic Kingdom. I really wanted to make sure we wouldn’t miss anything. The last two days were catching up on us big time, still, we were out of the door on time and ready to rock this day. I knew it was going to be hot and sunny again, but I hadn’t planned that by 7:30 am the humidity would have already frizzed my just curled hair. So much for the cute pictures I was supposed to take! Oh well… at least I had the perfect skirt on!
We entered the park with 2 things in mind, first, to recreate our group picture just like we did in 2014 in front of the castle, and then to rush to the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train to ride it before the waiting line would be too long. Well, we weren’t the only one with that plan in mind I guess! We made it to the ride but there was already about 2 hours of wait time, so we postponed it and did Peter Pan’s Flight (one of my fav) and It’s a Small World (definitely one of my fav) back to back instead, all that within the first hour of being in the park, not bad, right?
Then it was time for our first treats, FINALLY! So we all had either a Lost Princess cone or a Peter Pan float, except for me, of course, who had to try them both. You know, you got to understand something here, I would have probably just had one like everyone else, but both treats were on my what-to-eat-at-Disney list, and as an almost famous small town blogger, well I felt the need to please my followers and report back on both treats… and now that I have tried them both, well I can honestly say that they are arguably some of the most delicious treats ever. See, isn’t the point of blogging to have an excuse to eat things like Princess Cones and Peter Pan floats? Pretty sure it is.
After that, we split up in half to go ride Dumbo and Space Mountain. I left with my crew while Brian went to Space Mountain with his crew and their fast-passes; his crew being everyone doing the more extreme rides while my crew being the ones who were looking forward to riding Dumbo. Unfortunately for him the ride was “broken”. Fortunately though, they were told they could use their fast-passes in any other ride, so since they only had 10 minutes left to use it, they opted for the closest one and rode Buzz Lightyear… without the boys, which is THE ride they wanted to do at Magic Kingdom!
Meanwhile, we did another one of my fav, DUMBO! Isn’t it the cutest ride of all time? I could spend my day in that ride and never get bored! The colours, the cute elephants, the circus tent, everything about that ride made me happy. Then it was time for some churros, larger than life donuts, and some more popcorn! As I told you in my last post, popcorn was like a meal for Liam in Disney!
After that we rode Under the sea and then finally decided to wait in line for the Mine Train. I am not a big roller-coaster fan, but this ride is adorable, with a few intense corners, but still smooth enough for easily scared kids like mine. Overall, I loved everything about it… except for the 2-hour wait line, I guess. I have to say that now that I have done it, if I had to go back to Magic Kingdom today, I would definitely stay behind and spend that 2 hours exploring more of the park; but we hadn’t done it before, so we really wanted to do it. And we were travelling with one of Snow White’s biggest fan after all!!!
We then grabbed lunch and watched the parade. It was gorgeous, but it kinda seemed shorter than I remembered. Maybe it’s just me and my wish to make moments like this last forever! Then it was time for Big Thunder Railway, which Brian’s crew rode twice in a row since we all had fast-passes booked but the Dumbo crew didn’t really wanted to do it. Then it was time for Splash Mountain, which ended up being one of our favorite moments of the trip. He’s not the type to get adventurous, like he’s usually the complete opposite of it, and don’t ask me why, but when Liam saw the big drop and the water splash it caused, he told me he really wanted to do Splash Mountain. I was sure he would chicken out at some point, but no, he didn’t. And not only he didn’t chickened out, he actually waited in line for over two hours without saying anything about the wait time and the fact that they were not moving as they had to deal with another “broken” ride half way into the line. I actually didn’t do it, as I went back to Logan and my Mom while the others waited it out. I am so happy he did it, as he loved it so much; and the picture tells it all, with is little face, huge grin, 2 little arms up in the air while having the time of his life. MAGIC!
Oh, so while they were waiting in line for Splash Mountain, I had to find something else to blog about or to take pictures of, so I headed out for some Funnel Cake and some more ice cream. So I guess I should officially report back to my followers, before I forget, that these treats were also extremely delicious!!!
Then we did Pirates of the Caribbean and the Magic Carpets. OMG, the Magic Carpets ride is AWESOME. Who knew? I had never done it before, but was simply hilarious! We had an awesome time riding it… like, there’s a camel that spits water on the other riders when you press on the button… I couldn’t have asked for more, it was so much fun, as we laugh and screamed the entire time! Then we had some more Dole Whip and popcorn while we made our way to the Mad Tea Party tea cups ride. I’m not really into the spinning rides, especially after all the treats I have had so far, so we just sat in our cup and enjoyed the smooth ride without the extra spinning.
We then went back for some more pictures in front of the castle before sunset, but I had so many problems with my fancy camera during this trip that our pictures aren’t super nice, or not as nice as I had hoped for, I guess. I know it may sound superficial, but I’m super bummed about it, as I really wanted to take better pictures throughout the trip. I kind of want to cry about it, but between the cam problems, my frizzed hair, the boys’ constant eye-rolling and messing around during picture time, Logan’s tong sticking out everywhere and Liam’s missing front tooth, it wasn’t that easy to get some picture-perfect shots.
It was almost time for the fireworks, but luckily we were able to squeeze a short visit with Mickey and Minnie for some pictures in their 90th anniversary outfits! So cute and so much fun. The boys loved it!
By 8:30 pm, we were all there, in the middle of the street, waiting for the fireworks with a treat in our hands. Honestly, we could have found a better location, but we were all tired, and the consensus was to find a place close to the exit where we’d see most of the show. I was hoping for something similar to what we saw at Disneyland three years ago, where the entire Main Street was part of the show, but it wasn’t. It was still great, but maybe not as spectacular, or as magical. I am wondering if the fact that the boys were not that into it played a part into how much I enjoyed the show, who knows.
I still cried almost the entire time. No surprise there! And at the very end, I felt like I was 10 again, watching Tinker Bell fly down from the castle. I’m not crying; you’re crying!!!
Leaving the castle was emotionally draining. As soon as the last firework blasted, Logan became a mess, crying because we were saying goodbye to the castle. At the same time, I was crying thinking of my kids growing up, and that I will soon have to say goodbye to their magical spirit, and that once it happens, things will never be the same. I mean, I know we’ll be back, but my babies are growing up and I know we will never re-live this trip, or any of our previous Disney trips. And that is the hardest part for me to accept right now. Maybe that’s why I take so many pictures and videos, trying to capture every little thing, moment or feeling.
So many things I didn’t get to do at Magic Kingdom. The purple wall, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger ride, eat a corndog, get the perfect picture in front of the castle and visit the princesses. But still, I have to say that this was a pretty near perfect day in one of the most magical place on earth. Thank you Magic Kingdom for letting me believe and live through all of your fairy-tales and enchanted stories, even at 38 years old. Hope you’ll bring the same joy to my sons as they grow up.
So we just came back from our March-break Disney trip, and since I got way too much things to say, too many pictures to show, and way too much excitement for only one blog post, I’ve decided to do multiple ones, like one for each themed park! For those of you who won’t have the patience to read all of the posts, at least look at the pictures I’m going to share, as I’m sure you’ll see the magic through them all; and if I had to summarize our trip, I guess I could do it with something like ‘’We had, as expected, such a magical time, as we rode our favorite rides, Dumbo, Star Wars, It’s a small world, Peter Pan, Nemo and Toy’s Mania, we ate way too many Mickey Bars and too much popcorn, screamed from the top of our lungs in Tower of Terror, Slinky Dog and Expedition Everest, watched some beautiful parades, shows and fireworks, and even had the chance to hug and kiss Mickey and Minnie dressed in their special 90th Birthday outfit’’, but there’s so much more to it. So for everyone who wants to hear all about it, here’s the part 1 of the longer version of our Magical 2019 Disney World family trip.
So this all started a long long time ago, like probably 35 years ago, when, as a child, I kind of developed a slight obsession with everything Disney. Over the years, this slight obsession became a little more obvious, and now that my boys share this passion with me, I know I can go all out at any time and I’ll always have these two smiling faces beside me, willing to follow me, waiting to see what’s next. Prepping for this trip with them two has been the most pleasant time, and being able to live up to everyone’s expectation was the cherry on top of a fabulous week in Florida.
We left for the airport just before 3am on Friday morning, and beside Liam and Logan, I don’t think anyone else got much sleep! The excitement was at an all-time high, with the messages coming in one after the other in our Disney chat, from like midnight until it was time to leave. We took 3 cars to the airport, arrived early as planned, but then spent way too much time at security, only to board the plane with not even time to grab a coffee. The flight was great, as we were all sitting together, the 12 of us! Yep, 12 of us, which is a small crew compared to our group of 18 from about 5 years ago. We made it to Orlando, got our mega van and SUV we had rented, and then drove away with the windows down while enjoying the warm Florida weather. We left home at about minus 26 Celsius and within a few hours we were enjoying a sunny day and 26 degrees! I’ll take that at any time!
We had a little Target situation to begin with, as I drove our rented SUV to one store while Brian drove the van to another one, about 25 minutes apart… I just want to confirm that I was at the one we had previously agreed on! (NO, I wasn’t!!!). So we all met and did the grocery (at MY Target) and then found our beautiful house in a nice and quiet neighbourhood. Within minutes the rooms had all been figured out and the kids had all jumped in the backyard in-ground pool! What a long day it had been, so while everyone else was swimming, I decided to take a short nap before it was time to head out to the Outback Steakhouse, my father-in-law’s new favorite restaurant.
Although I hadn’t slept much the previous 2 days, I could hardly sleep as I was way too excited to visit Hollywood Studios in the morning. We rushed to the gate and then ran to the new Toy Story Land to ride the Slinky Dog Dash roller-coaster. What a thrill it was!!! I loved it. I was lead to believe that it was a kid’s roller-coaster, but no, it wasn’t… well, let’s just say that it was not one for mine! And maybe too intense for some of the adults as well. My Mom and Brian’s aunt Lulu still hadn’t recovered from the ride hours later while Liam and Logan screamed and cried and hated it the entire way. I actually have a pretty memorable video of Liam from the entire ride that proves it. They hated it but then they both really wanted the Slinky Dog toy, they’re so hard to follow sometimes!
The older kids and some of the adults had some fast-passes for Aerosmith’s Rock N Roller Coaster, so we took a break from the heat and watched the Frozen sing along while they went for their ride. And even though we were all beyond tired of the snow back home, we all got teary eyes when it started to snow at the very end. That’s what the magic of Disney does to you!
After a few more rides, we snacked on our first Mickey Bars and Mickey Ice Cream Sandwiches, bought the Toy Story refillable alien popcorn bucket and had some nachos. Nachos and popcorn are meals, right? Well they definitely were that week.
We then walked back to Toy Story Land for Toy Story Mania! My fav and Liam’s fav at that park for sure! This ride is EVERYTHING! Fun, fast, cute and competitive. Poor Logan, as he got his butt kicked. Nobody’s taking me down! We would have ridden this ride 100 times if they had let us… but man the waiting lines were just brutal. That’s what March Break was for us! Long lines, but the best of times.
Finally, one I am not too proud of, and one I probably lost 2 years of my life riding, Tower of Terror. I have no recollection of the moment prior, but all I can think of is that they either tricked me or forced me into it, cause I remember myself saying ‘’no way, I’m not stupid, I’m not doing it’’, but then I was all buckled up in the ride screaming ‘’WTF!!!’’. So they say that a picture is worth a thousand words… well I look at this one, and all it tells me is that this was my first and last time in that ride. And that picture is actually all I can remember from the ride cause I literally kept my eyes shut the entire time!
It was still early in the day, it was sunny and really hot outside, so we decided to go back to the house for a quick swim and nap and then come back to get diner at the park and catch the Fantasmic show. I just love that show. I could watch it over and over. It’s simply one of the best and most beautiful show ever. We were sitting up close, so we got a little wet, which actually minimized the appearance of tears as I was taking it all in, realizing that our first day was almost over and that this week was going to fly by. To be continued…
Are you heading out on vacation for March Break? Well I know I am! I’m sooo ready for our vacation, it’s not even funny anymore. I swear, a week is way worse than a year! We’ve been planning this Disney trip for a long time, I’ve been looking ahead to this for months and months, and it’s now just around the corner and I simply can’t wait any longer…
The boys have been trying every pair of shorts they own… an unfortunately, they outgrew most of them since last summer; and trying to buy a new summer wardrobe during winter is not that simple. So the last few weeks it’s been mostly shopping, shopping and shopping!
One of my favorite thing about going on a trip is the prepping! You know, making sure we have everything, that we’re not forgetting anything, and that we have things organized in a way that our trip will be even more enjoyable. So I’ve rounded up my 15 favorite things to pack up in my suitcase when we’re going on vacation. Whether it’s Disney, a trip to the beach or a weekend getaway, these items will keep you organized, ready for any situations and so damn proud of yourself to have everything you need for that awesome trip.
Let’s get started!
1-Ziplocs: Yes, I’m starting my list with Ziplocs. I actually rarely leave the house without one in my purse, so, bringing a box with me during a vacation is a must. I pack up all my skin-care product, tooth paste, shampoo, conditioner, sunscreen, etc. into large Ziplocs, so if something leaks, then I’m covered. The worst thing I could ever imagine when opening up my suitcase would be a major spill on my favorite outfits. I reuse my large Ziplocs every trip, leaving them in my suitcase until our next getaway. The large ones are the best, you can keep some in your backpack and use them for dirty clothes, diapers, or even to keep your fancy camera dry. They’re also great for carrying snacks with you or storing them while you’re on a ride. Or to bring back some Funnel Cake back to the hotel room! I find we waste less food this way when we’re in the parks or at the beach. Ziplocs are ESSENTIAL on vacation. Now you know it!
2-Phone charger: You always need backup. Phones are dying so quickly now and you don’t want to miss out on an important call, or the chance to capture the perfect sunset, or fireworks, or a Mickey Mouse hug! Buy a portable charger, keep it fully charge in your bag and no moments will be missed.
3-Fancy camera: I know you’ve got one, so bring it, that’s why you bought it. It’s sooo easy to just use our phones but honestly, there is a difference. If you’re traveling with a group, maybe alternate the person in charge of taking pictures every day, or just let someone else take the pictures once in a while, at least you’ll be in a few of them!
4-Stroller: So we’re on the verge of leaving for Orlando with our 8 and 6 years old and we ARE bringing 2 strollers. Kids are kids and travelling is hard. A meltdown and so easily avoided if they don’t have to walk when they are tired or too hot. We did California and Vegas with like 45 degrees Celsius heat about 2 years ago and we didn’t get ONE complaint. If you’re doing a theme park, wrap a ribbon or scarf to easily spot your ride. You can even leave it near a ride and pick it up later when you need it. Renting a stroller is expensive, so bring yours or borrow one, because you will need it. Also, you get from point A to B much faster when you’re not waiting for their little legs to catch up!
5-Cooling towel: Going somewhere hot? Well then this is a must! Wet the towel, ring out the water and feel the cooling effect immediately. Great for everyone but especially kids. The coolness will sooth and refresh them or yourself! You may buy these are the pharmacy or Amazon.
6-Shoe Rack: So this one I stole from my friend Vero. You know these plastic shoe racks from the Dollar Store? Buy one, place on the back of the bathroom door in your hotel and place all your personal products. Hair brushes, lotion, toothpaste and brush, your jewelry, etc. The counters are never big enough for all the stuff you bring, so this way, all your stuff is at the same place and in order. I don’t like when housekeeping touches my stuff when cleaning, so this way, she doesn’t have too. Leave in your suitcase once you’re done until your next adventure!
7-Hand sanitizer: OMG this one hurt just writing about it! The worst thing about going to a trip to Disney? The touching of EVERYTHING! Ropes, hands, fences, and the oh-shit bar in the rides… YARK!!! I probably go through a small bottle of Thieves hand sanitizer a day. My boys are already well trained in the hand washing department but a day in the park is no normal day. I can already hear the germs! So yea, buy the sanitizer and shower everyone with it every 20 minutes!
8-Muslin blanket: I don’t care how old your kids are, if they’re tired or irritated, then need a blanket. I love the Aden & Anais muslin blanket. Light and airy, perfect for warm days and cooler night. Can be used to shield the sun at the beach or during nap in the stroller. If nobody wants it, used it as a cover for your bum while you’re waiting for the parade! Roll it up in the bottom of your backpack and it will be there just in case.
9-Water bottles: Don’t bring your fancy one. You’ll be too sad if you forget it somewhere. A plastic one that can be clipped to the backpack or the stroller is all you need. Fill half of it with water the night before and freeze, then fill the rest in the morning and you’ll have cold water throughout the day. One of the best way to make sure you have the best time on your vacation is by staying hydrated. It’s so easy to forget to drink enough water when you’re busy. I always bring a bottle of Pedialyte for the boys to drink in the morning before we start the day. Keeps them refreshed and at least I know that whatever they drink and eat during the day, they have a base that keeps them well hydrated. I should probably do the same!
10-Sharpie: Yep, a sharpie. It’s totally needed for collecting the autograph of your favorite Disney characters! Can also be used in so many other useful occasions.
11-Sunscreen: Wear it, every day, whether you are skiing or relaxing at the beach. Buy it before you leave, sunscreen at your resort or at the theme parks will be double the price!
12-Poncho: Buy a few ponchos at the Dollar Store and store them in the backpack. You’ll hope you won’t have to use them but you’ll be glad you brought some if it does! And paying 10$ US for a poncho is no fun. We used ours for the Kali River Rapids at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Was I ever glad I was wearing mine!!! Unfortunately, a few from our gang were not so lucky! Once you’re done with your ride or once the sun is back, you fold them back up and place them in one of your large Ziplocs you brought.
13-Snacks: You want to keep your kids happy? Keep them full with treats!!! Kidding. With healthy snacks of course. What’s worse than having to deal with a meltdown because someone is hungry? Probably dealing with ME when I’m hungry!!! Bring dry snacks and fruits for when waiting in lines or just walking around. Plus, you can’t ONLY eat junk, so having a few veggies or fruits handy is perfect for the rumbling tummies.
14-Games: What to do for long flights, long waiting lines or long stretches of time when you need the kids to be entertained? GAMES. Uno, Sushi Go and Bingo are just a few of our favorites. Bring out a card games at the restaurant while you’re waiting for your pizza or while waiting to board the plane. Cross-words, books and tablets are great for quiet time, so load up new games on the iPad and buy a few books at the Dollar Store. I’ve found some fun and free Disney themed bingo cards on Pinterest and printed them. We’ll be taking these out and playing while waiting in line. Bring out the sharpies to cross off the ones you get. No mess, no tiny pieces and a Mickey Bar for the winner!
15- Anti Chafe Balm: This last one is not super glamorous but it works and it’s a MUST! I bought mine at the running store and I’ve been using it when it’s super-hot outside or when I know I’ll be walking during a long period of time. Spread a layer between your thighs and underneath your arms and you’ll see. I’m telling you, this will make your Disney adventure truly MAGICAL!
So there you have it, my list of things you absolutely must bring on your next trip! Do you plan on getting away soon? I hope you do. But if you don’t, no worries, just start thinking about what could be next, as this is almost as excited as doing it. I’m always on the lookout for our next adventure. It’s sooo much fun to decide where to go next, to plan ahead, to travel, to explore new places and see new things. Well, planning is all done here, next will be to wake up at 3 am in a few days and go catch our flight. Happy March Break my friends!
Valentine’s Day is less than a week away and I’ve got a few quick and easy ideas to celebrate your love ones!
This year, V-Day falls on a Thursday, so who’s got time for super fancy breakfast before school or 5 course meals after work? I’ve pulled up a few ideas for you. Perfect to spread the love in just a few minutes!
1- Grab a few pieces of coloured paper and leave some heart shaped love notes throughout the house or at work. It takes a few moments and can brighten up anyone’s day. Your husband, your kids, your coworkers and your Galantines!
2- My boys go crazy for fun and festive breakfast, but I ain’t gonna wake up at 5am to bake some waffles or anything like that. You know what? Buy the grocery store kind and warm them up in the toaster. Served with warmed up Nutella or maple syrup and some fresh strawberries. Why not add some strait from the bottle whipped cream. I’m telling you, it will take less than 5 minutes and you’ll have a love-ly breakfast they’ll definitely enjoy!
3- For lunch, prepare some heart shaped cheese quesadilla the night before and pack it up in the kid’s lunch box. It will be another fun and cute reminder of this special day. Guess what, I might just make myself one too!
4- Last year, we made a super fun and quick snack right after school. Store bought wafers cookies, we melted chocolate and dipped them in it. We then sprinkled some sprinkles! Done in 5, and delicious until the last crumb!
5- Lots of restaurants offer some delivery special for VDAY. So order up a heart shaped pizza for the kids. Easy, fast, with little to none clean-up after diner. Put them to bed early and enjoy a chick flick movie at home with your husband. Babysitters are difficult to find on Valentine’s Day, so reserve one for the weekend and stay home on the 14.
6- In the same easy mind frame, if you’re not into heart shaped pizza, just wait until the kids are in bed, take out the fondue set, open up a box of cheese fondue from the grocery store and voilà! It’s actually our favorite date-night at-home-diner. Baguette, pears, pecans, olives and some salami. You’ll be ready to eat within minutes and again, almost no clean-up!
7- Make some home-made sugar body scrub for your Galentines, mom or daughters. One cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of coconut oil, 5-10 drops of Young Living essential oil (Peppermint and Grapefruit are amazing) and a few drop of pink food colouring. Mix it up, split between small mason jar and write a little note. Super easy and fast. And great for the skin.
No matter what you do, being together is the only thing that matters. Whether you are meeting some girlfriends for drinks, skating on the canal, going out for diner, ordering heart shaped pizza, watching a movie at home, or looking at all the Valentine’s the kids brought back from school; Love is love, and it’s all you need! Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!
Now that we’ve been dealing with what seems to be like a week long winter storm, my first recipe of 2019 had to be a comfy one. The cold is really getting to me, and all I want to do is stay inside and eat warm and comfort food.
After eating way too much during the holidays, I’ve been trying to be a little more health conscious lately. So when I decided to try a new slow cooker white chili recipe, I had that in the back of my mind, and I ended up with an healthy and delicious meal! Easy, cheap and full of flavour. All you need is a few ingredients that you probably already have, plus a slow cooker. If you don’t have one, borrow one from your mom, I know she has one!
Perfect for dealing with this crazy cold weather or after coming back inside from a nice snowshoeing hike. That’s what I did and it was the best bowl of white chili I ever had!
Make this recipe this week, you won’t regret it! Or for watching the Patriots win next weekend!
I’d like to start by saying that I do know this one was a little over the top, and that I ended up spending probably too much time organizing it; but this is the type of things that makes Liam and I truly happy, and seeing how joyful he was yesterday, I am so happy I did it just the way I did. We created this party together, from picking the cakes, the decorations, the candy, the food and designing it all. It probably took me over 50 hours to make it all happen, but every minute was worth the happiness in Liam’s eyes when everything was taking shape.
You already know our profound love for Harry Potter, right? If you don’t, you’ll know about it in a few minutes! Sometime last summer, after watching the 3th Harry Potter movie one more time (his favorite movie), Liam came to me and officially declared that his 8th birthday would be all about magic and HP. So I immediately jumped in with both feet, being on the lookout for stuff for the party ever since. I found many decorations after Halloween with everything being on clearance, while also scoring some free stuff on Marketplace and Kijiji in the last few weeks. Oh, and we also found many things at our place, you know, stuff lying around the basement or buried in boxes we actually had forgotten about.
Just after Christmas, we took all the decorations away and started putting HP stuff EVERYWHERE. This party was probably the biggest one I’ve ever organized, with Logan’s Peter Pan 2nd birthday coming in at a close second. I’ve been dreaming about this party for months. Finally, yesterday, it was time, and it was just like I had imagined it.
Everything was covered, from the trunk and spell books on the porch, to the flying acceptance letters emerging from the fireplace, to the Owlery (a store where you can adopt a stuff owl to bring home) and the Honeydukes confectionary store, to the talking painting staircase, with the HP soundtrack blazing through the house, it was just like the real thing. Once you were done with the first room, next was the Great Hall, which you could only access by storming through the Platform 9 3/4 brick wall, where you’d find floating candles, a sorting hat cake, more candy and chocolates, twinkling lights, House colours banner, an handmaid giant map of Hogwarts ground, chocolate cake, vanilla cake and of course, a Butterbeer cake that brought dessert to the next level!
We had wands for our friends, we ate some chocolate frogs and chocolate Snitches; played Owl tag, took some Instax pictures and we feasted until we could pass out! All signs of a perfect birthday. Liam loved every second of it. For a rare occasion he actually enjoyed getting all the attention. He was so excited to show our own version of the Wizarding World to his friends and family. He was spoiled by everyone, as always. We are so lucky to have the best family and friends who loves our babies just the way they do.
This party will definitely go down in history as one of the most magical party I’ve ever thrown! It was so much fun to bring this thing to life and to celebrate our boy. We are the lucky ones to have you in our lives. Liam, you are the chosen one, just like Harry.
Hope this year will be full of health, fun filled days, new adventures, and so much love. I know you want to be a Griffindor, just like Harry, but you are so much more. You have the intelligence of a Ravenclaw; the dedication of an Hufflepuff; the ambitious of a Slytherin; and you can be BRAVE just like a true Gryffindor. And I love you just the way you are.
Today, on your actual birthday, all you wanted to do was to watch some YouTube videos, go skating and eat spaghetti for dinner. It was simple and it was a great day. I love you baby boy. Eight years old, not so baby anymore, but still, and always, my baby.
Happee Birthdae Liam! We love you so much. ALWAYS.
So are you out of your food coma yet? Have you taken all your decorations down? Does your house suddenly feels empty? Are you still in that daze where you don’t even know what day it is? Yep, that’s all signs of the end of another great holiday season.
We’ve had sooo many parties, so many dinners, so much time spent on the roads, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Just a few hours after I was officially on holidays, we had a cousins family reunion diner. My younger cousin now lives in Lake Louise and was back home for Christmas, so he got most of us to show up for a rare and fun family reunion. I don’t think I had seen him in like over 5 years. It was great catching up with him, meeting his girlfriend Kimmy, seeing everyone, as well as having the boys spending times with their second cousins from the Lamoureux family.
Then, off course, we had to hit the malls on December 22nd, running around like crazy people, just for fun, on what was probably the busiest Saturday morning of the year. I had made care packages for homeless people and got to deliver them. So hard to witness the situation in which they are, and although it wasn’t much, I could clearly see their gratitude. It does put everything in perspective. Next year, the boys will come along. They do their parts, a few times a year, I get them to select some of the toys they no longer use and we donate them, but I want them to do more. We all should. Then, later that night, we had dinner with my sister-in-law’s family at our place.
Sunday was lazy, prepping for Christmas, wrapping the leftover gifts and having way to many lattes while listening to Christmas vinyl records. Then, finally, it was Christmas Eve, and as usual, Brian took the boys to work in the morning and came back just in time for a much needed Christmas Eve nap! One of the best tradition EVER! We then drove 45 minutes to my mother-in-law’s for the most delicious Christmas fondue dinner of the year. Then, around 10pm, we headed to Brian’s dad for the Woodbury family’s ‘Réveillon’. We had a visit from Santa, live music and dancing from Brian’s aunt Lulu and uncle Bobby, then some more food and overall a lot of fun! We called it a night at 2am, drove back home and got to sleep only for a few hours before we got woken up by the boys, telling us Santa had come to our place during the night.
The boys were so excited to open their Santa’s gift, so we had a hard time finishing opening the other presents as they only wanted to play with it! Christmas morning should last forever. It’s definitely my favorite part of Christmas. The excitement, the anticipation and the hope. I wish I could bottle it up somehow. Hopefully they’ll believe in all the Christmas magic for many more years. I believed in it until I was 12, so if I’m lucky, I may get a few more years of this. I hope so.
My mom and Frank came for brunch and then the rest of our family arrived for Christmas dinner. We played some hilarious games, some less flattering than others, like how many marshmallow can you fit in your mouth! You should try it out. And let me know if you can beat 12!
The 26 was spent in our pj’s, building Legos and eating leftovers. There was the prettiest snowfall in the afternoon so we all bundled up and went for a walk. It was magical. I love lazy days like this, where we have no agendas, no places to be, and not having to dress up!
The rest of the week was spend watching movies, trying to find some boxing week sales, seeing friends and family and trying to sleep in. We also brought Liam to play his first Escape game in Montreal, an Harry Potter inspired one! He loved it! On NYE we got together with our friends and went to the Fairmont Chateau Montebello for an afternoon sleigh ride. We got lucky with the weather, not too cold, not too windy, it was simply perfect. I just love myself some sleigh rides, I find they’re the ultimate Holiday season activity. There’s something about the horses, the carriage and the sleigh bells; it gives me all the feels.
On the 1st, we got a brunch at my mom’s, then turkey dinner at Lulu’s, then on the 2nd it was another relaxing day where I went to Starbucks and then shopping while Brian and the boys spent the full day playing their new Nintendo Switch game.
And now, with just a few hours left to our holidays, we’re just trying to hang on and relax some more before it’s back to school. It was a great Holiday Season, with a few days packed with family dinners, and gatherings, and other things to do, but mostly filled with days with no plans at all, just taking naps, cooking, catching up on Netflix series, playing in the snow and sneaking in a few movies at the theatre. Hope the holidays were good to you as well and that you feel refresh for this New Years that has just begun!
Wishing you all the best for 2019 mylemondroplife friends!
In exactly one week it’s going to be Christmas Eve. How is that even possible? I’m so behind on my usual pre-Christmas blog posts; I had planned to share a Christmas recipe, some Christmas wish lists, some Christmas activities, but with one week to go, I know I won’t have time to do any of this, so I’ll combine a bit of everything in this one. I truly wish I had more time, but between our school and the boys’ school events, the Christmas shows, all the baking, gifts wrapping, sneaking a movie night to watch Mary Poppins, a family cousins reunion AND the actual Christmas festivities, not sure how I will ever survive this next week! But even with all that, I’m still the most excited one in this household! I just LOVE Christmas! And here’s a little recap of what we’ve been up to the last couple of days.
Picking our Christmas Tree: The official opening of the holiday season always starts with the cutting of our tree at Ian’s Christmas Tree Farm. I’ve already shared with you how big of a deal our tree is, and you can read more about our magical tree tradition here. Let’s just say this year didn’t go according to plan. It had snowed a few days before, it was beautiful outside, the weather was great, we were 11 of us crammed into 3 cars, but once out there in the field, we couldn’t find a tree we would agree on. We walked and walked and walked some more, but nothing, nada, zero. All of them too small, or too big. After searching for the perfect one for over an hour and a half, we finally placed the bag under the magic tree, the boys found it, they were happy, we pretended to cut it and hitched a ride on the wagon to go back (actually without a tree). So while we were having hot dogs, maple fudge and brownies by the outside fire pit, Brian picked up a pre-cut one! Only once we had already paid and wrapped up the tree we were told we were actually in the wrong field. Well, you just watch me next year, Clark Griswold will eat his heart out when he sees my perfect tree. After that, we all came back home for some drinks, pasta diner and to decorate the tree. All in all, we didn’t cut it ourselves, but our tree still looks beautiful and smells wonderful, which is all that matters.
Christmas Party number 1:
We’ve had our annual friends Christmas party ever since I can remember, and for the last 5 or 6 years, we’ve been hiring a chef to cook for us, at home, and it’s been amazing. But this year, our chef double-booked the date and we were left with no one with about two weeks’ notice. So at the last minute, we all decided that each couple would be responsible to take care of one service. And it turned out to be amazing! Saved us a ton of money and the food was delicious. Vero and Mat have the greatest basement for parties like this, with mirrors and lights and loud speakers and a dancing floor, so let’s just say that the next morning was rough for a few of us who drank and danced too much! I just think there may be a little less Tequila involved next year, or so I’ve heard. But we had so much fun, as always, and I can’t wait for next year’s party already.
I love the Nutcracker. We saw the new movie a few weeks ago and Liam loved it so much that when a young girl from my school was chosen to take part in the ballet, I knew we had to go. So last week, Liam and I added the Nutcracker Ballet to our list of Christmas things to do. On Thursday night, we skipped the school homework and went to see the show. It truly puts you in the Christmas spirit and I was so proud to cheer on Victoria. She was wonderful to watch, and Liam and I just loved the entire thing, as it was beautiful and so well done.
Christmas Parties 2, 3 and 4:
Last weekend was filled to the brim with activities. First, Friday night was my workplace party at my co-worker’s new house. Well, now I have severe house envy. Well, how could I not? She has a dream kitchen, PLUS a stage (well, an open staircase that looks like a stage) where I came up with a singing/lipsing performance! The games were hilarious, I will definitely plan games like these for Christmas Day at our house. Family, beware and be ready! After my work thing, I drove back-and-forth to the other side of Ottawa to pick up Brian who was at another Christmas party at his friend’s house… so by the time I went to bed it was pretty late! And then Saturday morning I was up early to get everything ready in time as I was hosting family members for diner. We don’t see each other enough, but we do this every year now and we always have a great time. I really love this new tradition of ours. This year was no different. My aunt, uncle and the boys all played a few songs on the piano. We shared old and new stories. The boys saw their baby cousin Evely, who is definitely one of the best dressed toddler ever! And then, on Sunday morning, we drove to Brian’s dad to get the house ready for the Christmas Eve Woodbury family ‘Réveillon’. So while Brian, his brother and his sister were picking up and decorating the tree and the house, I decided to cook my Christmas ‘boulettes’ for the 24th midnight lunch; at least one thing to check off my list, finally!
It’s going to be a busy week, but it’s one of the best week of the year, as this is what it’s all about: gatherings, reminiscing, spending time with the people that matters, with all the love, the bickering and the dirty dishes in between! Christmas would definitely not be the same without all the craziness that comes with it. So, no more complaining about everything I have left to do before December 24th, and I will enjoy each day to the fullest and I’ll catch up on sleep sometime in the new year! Cheers my friends, and have fun, and be safe, hoping the next few weeks are filled with Christmas magic for all of you, as we all deserve some of it this time of year. I wish you all the best Holiday Season possible. Merry Christmas.