mirror, mirror, who is the fairest of them all

Well let me tell you… I think I may have found it, the fairest of them all, and it’s actually not too far from home! My family and I have spent last weekend in some sort of winter wonderland fairy-tale, and I am so excited to tell you all about it.

So as I said in last week’s post, we were invited by the Mirror Lake Inn in Lake Placid for the Holiday Village Stroll weekend; and I can tell you that we won’t forget a moment of it. It was a weekend filled with so many Christmas lights, numerous Holidays activities, breathtaking views, as well as memories that will last us a lifetime.

Here’s how it all happened… so earlier this year, while we were planning our summer vacation in Lake George, I was browsing online, looking for some activities for us to do over there; I remember Googling something like ‘what to do in the Adirondack’ and then stumbled upon this cute hotel in Lake Placid, the Mirror Lake Inn Resort & Spa. Right there, simply by looking at the hotel’s website, I knew I had to visit it one day. So then later, like sometime in October, I looked further into it and saw some of their winter pictures on their website and Trip Advisor… and I simply fell in love with the place. I then decided to contact them to let them know I was planning on visiting Lake Placid in December to take some pictures and to blog about it… Fast forward a few weeks later and MLI had officially invited us to spend what seemed to be like the ultimate December-Holiday-weekend.

It felt like November would never end, as we couldn’t wait for our weekend getaway to arrive. The boys were so excited when we told them we were going on a family vacation; yet, kind of disappointed when we told them we were driving to get there. They always associate the word vacation with plane! But now, let me tell you, they are both quite happy that the Mirror Lake Inn is just a short drive away, as they both desperately want to go back.

We left on Friday at noon with snacks packed for the drive, as well as the iPad and Nintendo DS… which they played with until they both fell asleep right after we passed the US Customs. The ride was so smooth, and beautiful, mostly on country roads, with more and more freshly fallen snow covering the tall pine trees along the way up into the Adirondack. On our way there, we’ve listened to both our favorite Christmas albums, Michael Bublé for me and Zooey Deschanel’s She and Him for Bry (please don’t judge him!), while chatting the entire way. When we first spotted the Mirror Lake as we drove downhill towards it, the sun was hitting the mountains behind; and the view was just stunning. The boys woke up, and finally, we had arrived; all of us excited to be there. The first view of Mirror Lake Inn as we pulled in was just as expected: breathtaking. I knew it was going to be gorgeous, I mean I had already seen hundreds of pictures of it, but it was so much bigger, and even prettier.

One of my favorite moments of the weekend was the smell of the lobby the first time we entered the inn… I’d describe it as a delicate firewood-pine trees-oranges smell. It was welcoming, and comforting, and Christmassy, and I loved it. We made our way to the reception desk only to be greeted with homemade chocolate chip cookies. Let just say the MLI reception desk kind of does it all… and also kind of ruined the reception desk of all of our future travel destinations that won’t greet me with cookies!!! I will not share how many I ate during our stay, but I will say this… I fully took advantage of their chocolate chip cookie hospitality; and so did Logan!

We were then shown to our room. The first thing I noticed was the floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall windows with a view on the lake and mountains. The view was simply the best, but the comfy king size bed, the pull out sofa bed for the boys, and the two leather chairs by the windows were also pretty awesome. While we were making ourselves at home, we heard a knock at the door… ‘Hello there’, as we were welcomed with a cheese tray, drinks, and some more cookies!

The first thing the boys wanted to do was to go to the pool, so Brian took them swimming while I took the opportunity to explore the inn and take some pictures. So many things and places to see, and so much beauty and history, everywhere I looked.

Here are some facts… Mirror Lake Inn is a family own business that started way back in the 1920’s. Mr. Wikoff created the Mir-a-Lac Inn and it became well known all over the States. It took an even bigger leap when the inn hosted an entire Olympic team during the 1932 Olympics. Since then, the inn has kept on getting bigger and better throughout the years. The MLI is now own by Ed and Lisa Weibrecht, whose son Andrew is a two-time Super G Olympic medalist. Andrew’s medals are shown at the reception and you can admire them for as long as you want while enjoying some cookies. MLI is known for its charm, its amazing staff and its delicious food. Here’s another fact: oh my god, the food is simply amazing!!! Every single item we ordered throughout the weekend was so delicious; but I have to say that the absolute best thing I’ve tried was the shrimp and squash gnocchi that Bry got at the Taste Bistro & Bar on Saturday night for dinner.

So, after the boys came back from the pool, we all changed and got ready for our 6:30 reservation at the four diamond restaurant, The View; and what a view it was! We were seated right by the windows overlooking the lake. Lake Placid was covered with snow when we arrived, but somehow, the lake was frozen and as clear as a mirror… I guess that’s where the name comes from! That’s actually not a fact, it’s just an observation, so don’t quote me on that; but it was truly beautiful. The lake was completely frozen, yet you could still see the sand at the bottom of it. So, back to The View. Well I’m pretty sure that all servers from The View or from all the other MLI restaurants are great, but Tess was just the best. She was so nice to us and the boys, bringing them special treats and making sure we all had a great time. Liam even asked her if he would see her the next day. Sadly he didn’t. But every time we would go close to the restaurant during the weekend, he would look out for her. He was so cute! You may or may not see this, Tess, but thank you so much for making our diner even more special. By the time we were done, Brian had one of the best salmon dish of his life, Liam probably now owns the world record for the fastest eaten spaghetti ever, while Logan was real super classy with his French fries and side of vinegar that we had brought from our last visit to McDonald’s (as the States only serve Malt Vinegar and Logan is NOT a fan of it but needs his vinegar on his fries!). As for me, well I was so full from my amazing filet mignon that I had to share a raspberry creme brulee with Brian! So good. But so glad we only ordered one dessert, because right after we were done, Tess brought us some nice chocolate truffles, mixed nuts and homemade mint chocolate. I could easily get used to that! Overall, the boys did really well (with the help of their Nintendo DS, of course), and I must say that it was one of our best meal ever.

After dinner we visited the library, my favorite room at MLI, which is located right beside the reception desk and common lounge. This room is so cozy, with oversized furniture, comfortable couches and a huge fireplace. We borrowed some games from the front desk and the boys played chess with Bry and then Chutes and Ladders with me. They also spotted an Elf on the Shelf and became obsessed with it, having to go find him every morning. It was actually a great start to our day to go visit the library; with lots of doors and windows and the sun pouring in… I could have sat there for hours to enjoy the fireplace and to relax. The library was mellow, and warm, and it really made us feel welcomed. It was a great place to spend our first night in Lake Placid. Right after playing a few board games, we decided to call it a night… well some of us did, as one of us decided to visit the Taste Bistro & Bar and listened to the live music while discovering some of their local craft beers as well as their amazing display of single malt scotch!

Next morning came way too fast for my Loggy boy, and by 6am, him and I were snuggling on the big chairs by the windows, in the little nook in our room, and played games and chatted.  Once we were all up, we went down for breakfast where we ate way too much. The mini chocolate croissants were heaven! At 11am, it was Storytelling Time at the Mirror Lake Inn. Everyone from the village was invited and I’m pretty sure they all showed up. Set in the Wikoff room, right beside a huge Christmas tree and a gorgeous fireplace, a women made us sing carols and really got us to participate. Logan loved when she sang Rudolph, his favorite Christmas song. He was so cute, and I tried to make a short video of him singing along, but as soon as he noticed me filming, he stopped! Then the owner of the Bookstore Plus came to read How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The man who played the Grinch was AMAZING. You should have heard his voice… move over, Jim Carey!

It was now time to visit the Lake Placid village! So we got all dressed up and made the short walk to the central part of the village. We had to stop a few times to throw some snowballs on the lake, always a hit with my boys; especially on the frozen-like-a-mirror Mirror Lake! They had so much fun watching the snowballs explode on the ice, they kept on saying ‘this one was made of flour’. We then got to see Santa arriving in style on the local firetruck. The boys wanted to wait in line to see him, but I knew we would meet him later that evening, so I said no; felt like the Grinch there! We then browsed through the boutiques, ate freshly popped popcorn, and had Starbucks. We then came back for lunch at The Cottage at MLI, a small and cozy restaurant right on the water. The decor was so different, just like a ski lodge, and I loved everything about it. Delicious food once again. We had a pulled pork sandwich and French onion chicken burger sandwich. DELISH. After that, the boys wanted to go to the pool once again, so we decided to head back to the room.

So while they went swimming, I took what I’ll call “a holiday nap”, it’s a little fancier than a regular one, just because I was on a holiday, you know! The boys came back from the pool, but Logan was so tired that he immediately fell asleep with me, while the other two played some games… Logan was up since 6am, so letting him nap at like 4:30 pm was the biggest fail of all. MLI offers a visit from Santa and his Elf to its guests; so of course I was all over that. And of course I made sure they were wearing their new matching pj’s and all. Santa was scheduled to knock on our door at 6:30, so I tried to wake up Logan just past 6, but he didn’t want any of it. He was done. But when we heard the knock, we all ran to the door, even Logan who was still kind of asleep came with us to see who it was… and it was Santa! Sleepy Logan gave him a quick hug, then went back to bed and that was it for him! So Santa and his Elf came in, Liam told him what he wanted for Christmas, while Loggy was staying still, face first into the bed. So unlike him! Oh well, we’ve tried everything, we even tried to bribe him into coming to sit on Santa, but no, he was having NONE of it! Liam loved that Santa came to our room, although he became a little shy when Santa spoke to him in English (he really tried his best to speak a little French and I’m grateful for that!), so I had to be the interpreter. Santa then did a magic trick for us and Liam was really impressed! All in all, we ended up forcing Logan into a family picture with Santa, which actually turned out to be okay, so I take that as a win!

Santa left our room at 6:45, and since we were all still pretty full from our late lunch, we decided to go out to see all the beautiful MLI and village outdoor nightly Christmas decorations. So we all got dressed up once again and went out for a pre-diner walk. Probably took 500 shots of the beautiful outdoor holiday decors. The weather was perfect, and we had the best of time, just enjoying the surroundings and ourselves. Came back to the inn at about 8:30 for diner at The Taste Bistro and once again, the food was great. The gnocchi Bry ordered were simply to die for, and it’s my new mission in life to make as delicious gnocchi’s. I’m accepting all recipes; so if you have one, please send it my way! We then went back to our room, put the boys to bed and sat in our large chairs by the windows while quietly enjoying the view one last time. What a perfect day it was… minus the “Leave-me-alone-I-don’t-want-to-look-at-him” thing with Santa!

Already Sunday; our last day in Lake Placid. Well, at least we all woke up later than usual, which was great. Snow was gently falling outside, making everything white. Even the Mirror Lake was all white, no more mirror-like-lake. But it was perfect for some more pictures! So we packed up our stuff, talked about our weekend and what we had loved the most. We had a Breakfast with Santa planned, and finally, Logan was back to himself and real happy to see him! We had a great big round table by the fireplace and the Christmas tree all by ourselves; the brunch was so good, and the French toast were just awesome! We took some more pictures with Santa, and this time everybody was smiling and happy!

After brunch we made a final tour and said goodbye to our favorite places. My boys are really emotional, and they both cried, as they didn’t want to leave, but I can’t blame them, as I didn’t want to leave either. We took one last family selfie and we were on our way to Whiteface Mountain. Such a beautiful drive to get there on a snow covered road. But once we got to the ski resort, the snow and wind were stronger than at the inn, and we were told that the gondolas were closed because of a blizzard at the top of the mountain. We had planned to do the gondola ride to the top and the bobsled ride down the track. But we were so sad when we learned about the gondolas that we just left and forgot to ask if it was still possible to see and try the bobsled Olympic track. What a mistake. We both wanted to see it, and possibly try it. I only realized once back home that we had completely forgot to ask about it while at Whiteface Mountain.

So, since the mountain was closed, well we decided to take the long way back home, which actually consisted of the fastest way home with a stop at the closest Target. Of course, cause I just love Target!

During our drive back, we talked about what we had loved the best, which were the pool, the cookies, throwing snowballs onto the frozen lake, the Christmas lights, the smell of the inn, the people we had met, the restaurants we had tried, the stunning mountains, and much more. So many memories during such a small amount of time. That’s what the Mirror Lake Inn did to us, it created memories that will last a lifetime. Nothing makes me happier than spending time with my family, traveling and having the time of our lives. And we sure did this weekend.

This wonderful weekend was put together for us by Mr. Caligiore, and from the four of us, Thank You so much for the amazing and wonderful opportunity, and for making sure we had the best of time. MLI surely knows how to make their guests feel welcome; and they do it in a way you don’t see everywhere. The staff was so nice to us, eager to help with anything, and always so friendly. When you’re there you can feel that it’s not just the one person you meet who’s nice, but that they all are, as a group, you know, like it’s just their thing! Well, that’s how we felt. Everyone was so nice to us.

So here’s my official review of the Mirror Lake Inn Resort & Spa: if you’re thinking about visiting Lake Placid or its surroundings, you HAVE to stay at the MLI, or at least make time to visit and eat at one of their restaurants. The Holiday Village Stroll was an amazing weekend for a Christmas fanatic like me, but this place is clearly stunning all year round.

We will be back soon, that’s for sure. I just can’t wait to visit the Mirror Lake Inn again. For next time, I am debating between bringing our skis and going up in the gondolas or bringing our swimsuits to enjoy the MLI beach and Lake Placid sun; either way, I know we will have a great time. This place is simply the best.

Thanks for the memories Mirror Lake Inn.

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our beautiful christmas home

Can you believe it???  (I actually say that every year around this time…).  But it’s like mind-blowing, yet so exciting, that in two weeks it will already be Christmas time!  Exciting… but, probably like some or most of you, I still have sooo much stuff to do before I can say that I’m ready, with absolutely no idea when I am going to do it or where should I start.  And now, on top of that, well I won’t be getting ahead with any of my baking, cooking, cleaning or shopping this weekend as we are going away on a little family vacation to the States… well, you know, I guess I’ll probably be doing a little shopping after all!!!

Okay, seriously, I haven’t been this excited about a road trip in a very, very, long time; so Christmas preparations will have to wait a little!  I am so thrilled and excited to tell you all that we are travelling to Lake Placid as we have been invited (or should I say my lemon drop life was invited…) for a weekend stay at the Mirror Lake Inn for the Holiday Village Stroll!  Like OMG, woohoo!!!  So, you know, that in itself should be so exciting… and it is… but here’s why all the EXTRA excitement… well this place looks exactly like the kind of place the Gilmore Girls and I have always dreamed of!  I just can’t describe it… yet… but stay tuned, as I will be posting some pictures on my blog’s social media accounts throughout the weekend and will share all about our upcoming stay sometime next week!

I was so excited about our MLI stay that I had to tell you, but for today, I actually wanted to share some of our Christmas decorations, which is the one thing I do have nailed down so far.  I’ve actually started to decorate 3 weeks ago, and bit by bit every single room of the house went through its own Christmas transformation.  Man oh man do we have Christmas stuff.  Like we have been buying new ornaments for our tree each places we’ve traveled to over the past 10 years… so basically, we get new –and often not necessarily matching– ornaments every year… and while every year we tell ourselves that our tree is kind of full and that we got to stop buying more ornaments, well we still do.  And we still find a place for them to hang in our beautiful tree!  Other than ornaments, I’ve actually stopped buying new Christmas’ decorations since we already have way too much.  You know, my Godfather really loved Christmas and really loved to over decorate… and when he passed, well I got a lot of his stuff (actually got his passion for decoration way before that!), so now it’s my turn to overdo it with all his beloved Christmas decoration pieces.

So today I’m giving you a little tour of our home, Christmas decorated version.  I’ve always said that our home was made for Christmas, cause I just love the look of it and the warmth feeling it brings to our family when decorated.  The tree is the first thing that is lite up in the morning (Logan’s duty at 6:30) and the last thing to go out at night.  Like, I could be making this stuff up just to make my blog seems more interesting, but I’m not… so, literally, every day, the boys gather in front of the tree to play board games, or to read, or to have fun with their gazillion stuffed animals (more like 50!).  We actually all love our living room a little more in December with a Christmas tree in it; it’s where Bry sits at night with a glass of wine and where I dunk my chocolate cookie in a cup of milk –you should definitely try that– when I get a little hungry past 8!

We are now all impatiently waiting for Santa to arrive, and our home is like the best place for it.  Close second is hopefully the Mirror Lake Inn in Lake Placid where Santa is scheduled to knock on our hotel room door at 6pm on Saturday to meet the boys!  Just can’t wait!!!  This is so exciting!

So, hope you all have a great weekend while enjoying your beautiful and decorated Christmas home!  Cheers.  And don’t forget that ‘the best way to spread Christmas Cheer, is signing loud for all to hear’.

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it’s advent calendar time

So it’s December 1st; do you have your advent calendar ready?  We do and I love it!  Growing up, I have never been into the chocolate advent calendar that you could buy at every big store, I don’t know, just wasn’t a fan of it or its waxy chocolate… the little doors were fun to open though, for the first few mornings, but I remember not eating the chocolate by mid-December… while now you would have to pay me to eat it on December 1st!  When the boys were younger, we didn’t do the chocolate thing for them either, but for the last 3 years, we sure went all out with the 25-days leading to Christmas!!!  So here’s how this all started…

As a kid, my family never did the Christmas morning stocking tradition.  I guess my Mom thought we had received enough gifts for one day and wanted us to wait until New Year’s day to open our stockings.  She actually never pretended they we from Santa, and I remember my brother and I being so excited on January 1st while opening -some more- fun little gadgets and surprises, cause it kinda made the gift giving (or back then more like gift receiving) period last a bit longer!  Once we got a bit older, or like old enough to fill/buy/pay for a Christmas stocking by ourselves, we started to draw names and organize a stocking exchange, so we would each have a stocking to open; still on New Year’s Day.  I tried to do the same with my Brian before we had the boys, but my stockings was always empty comes January 1st.  When I would say on December 31st that I was super excited for the stocking exchange in the morning because of all the cool stuff I had found for him, I could immediately see with the look on his face that he didn’t get me anything, yet.  But guess what, nothing’s open on NYD; SO I would end up with like a jar of ice cream and a DVD from the drug store.  Yep… I was SUPER excited.  So after a few years of being disappointed (I know I sound like a spoiled child; especially since it was actually chocolate Haagen-Dazs he would get me every year), I decided to call it quit.  Hence, the advent calendar!

There are so many Christmas traditions nowadays that I decided to combined some of them together!  So now our advent calendars, Christmas stocking and Elf on the Shelf Willy are all part of the same scheme!  My mom knitted tiny little mittens, we glued numbers 1 to 24 on it and placed them on a string (most adorable advent calendar EVER).  So like any other elf, Willy, who’s there to watch on the boys and report on their behavior to Santa throughout the month of December, really likes to hide!  And he does it every night!  But what Willy also do every night, is that he brings a small treat or toys to the boys and leave it for them to find in their mittens.  So when they wake up, they have to find Willy in the house and then look into their mittens for some fun little gifts.  Well, only if they were good the day before, at home and at school, cause Willy sees everything.  Best decision ever!  December is clearly their best behaved month of the year!  And it really doesn’t cost more than the stockings would, and at least, they have fun for 24 straight days instead of 5 minutes on New Year’s.  So throughout the month they will be receiving underwear, socks, some Mario’s figurine, lollipops, and even possibly a Poop Christmas ornaments!  Oh yeah, they still find the Poop Emoji sooo funny!  But don’t worry, that thing will be hidden somewhere at the back of our beautiful tree along with Brian’s Red Sox player and mini Fenway Park ornaments!

As for me, well last year I bought myself a HUGE wooden calendar with little boxes to be filled.  I received some cute messages on some days and junk the boys had putted in there on some other days.  Hopefully, this year it will be filled with some awesome stuff!  I’m pretty sure it will once he sees what’s inside the MEGA advent calendar I’ve prepared and left on the kitchen table since last weekend.  He’s been really anxious to start opening the doors.  I really wanted to keep this a surprise, but I’m pretty sure he has already figured it out by now… so it’s 24 different craft beers, of course including some of his favorite Beau’s!  Maybe not THAT original, but I know he’ll love it and will enjoy opening all the little doors every day after work!

So there you have it, our very own Elf tradition.  And you know, I don’t go crazy about the Willy/mittens thing if I forget about it… when it happens, I just tell the boys that Willy probably didn’t like something he saw the day before and that they should really watch themselves and behave from now on.  Honestly, who can keep up will all the craziness and not drop the ball once in a while!  And when it happens, well they have the best of days after that… so, not too bad!  Thinking of it, may start skipping some days on purpose!!!

May the December craziness be awesome my friends.  Good luck with all the shopping, food prep, wrapping, decorating, and more, and more, and more!  You know what, in the end, it is truly the best time of the year… so enjoy yourselves, and all the parties, and have fun with family and friends.  Cheers, with a bit of eggnog!

 

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our magical tree tradition

Another year, another Christmas Tree. Yes, one of our family’s tradition and favorite day of the year has already gone by, and once again, it was just perfect. Not sure what’s in the air this year, but we were all so very anxious to start decorating for Christmas that we’ve decided to go out to our favorite Christmas Tree farm a week earlier, which we normally do on the first weekend of December.

I will do a house tour of our Christmas decorations sometime next week to show you all why this is the time of the year where I truly fall in love with my house, year after year. I do love my ‘normal’ house, but nothing compares to walking into a Christmas decorated house with the fresh smell of fir. That just makes me happy.

So on Saturday, we talked about it and decided that we didn’t wanted to wait another week before we’d go get our tree, and then made some plans to go to Ian’s Christmas Adventure Park the following day. My mom, Frank and my aunt Lise-Ann decided to join us. The boys had a friend’s birthday party in the morning, and as soon as we got back home, they putted on their pj’s and snowsuits and on our way we were!

It was our 7th visit to Ian’s Christmas Adventure Park and we still love it every year like it was our first time. I have a feeling that we will never grow tired of this place and I truly hope that one day our grandchildren will come with us to pick our tree, and we’ll all make a day out of it, and continue this tradition of ours…

So on Sunday, on our way there, the ground was lightly covered with snow, weather was great and everybody was happy. On the way there, Logan told us that it was his favorite day of the year, which made me so happy! He then added that making a snowman and skating were also his favorite days of the year (but he has NEVER skated yet in his life!!! HAHA). Once we got to the farm, we immediately went to the wagon ride and hit the fields. We strolled for a while before Brian found our magical tree. He usually choose the biggest tree he finds, but this year he kinda went for a pretty one instead of a big one, and I don’t know, but I love a big tree, and I told him that he should have gone bigger; so, well, I guess that after making that comment about his tree I can expect the biggest tree that will physically fits into our house next year; oh well!

So when I say magical tree, and I know I have told you about our corny tradition in last year’s post, but for those who are new here, each year when we go pick out our tree, my mom hides two bags with the boys’ names under the tree that we have chosen. When we (the adults) finally decide on a tree, we bring the boys for a little walk while my mom hides their bags under it, and then we bring back the boys close to the tree and let them walk by themselves until they find their bags with their names, and therefore our magical tree! Silly, but all they could talk about on the way there was which tree would be ours and what could be the surprise they would find under it. It’s usually a small ornament and chocolate, but it gets them really excited!

Once the tree was cut down, we took the wagon back to see the Reindeer. Definitely my favorite moment. Only wish I could do a photoshoot with them à la Mariah Carey! That would be a dream come true. But sadly I don’t own a tight red Santa suit nor am I allowed to go inside the Reindeer’s pens! That’s too bad!!!

The year, for the first time, we ventured past the Reindeer and took a walk on Candy Cane Lane, played in the maze and visited Santa’s workshop. Wish more snow had fallen to make snowballs and throw them at the giant target. Brian found a way to make some of dead grass and a tiny bit of snow; it kinda worked and it was a hit!

Then it was time to warm up by the fire pit, eat a hot dog and drink a hot cocoa! We also made our way into the warm up cabin to look at a few snapshot of all the visiting guests over the years. We love finding some of our older pictures on the wall.

Finally, Brian and Frank tied the tree onto the car and we drove back home for an evening of decorating and diner. It’s now part of the tradition to eat a warm homemade lasagna after freezing our bums all afternoon. We finished the tree, ate dinner, had some raspberry pie and then called it a night. But before going to bed, even if it was past their bedtime, we decided to let the boys watch the tree for a little while, upon their request, while also making plans to play board games in front of it today after school. They just love to sit and watch all the lights and ornaments. So last night, while looking at it, they talked about how good they have to be in order to receive gifts on Christmas morning. Hopefully they’ll remember about it in the morning! Yeah right.

So glad the Holidays are upon us, that my house smells like fir when I walk in, and that my boys love Christmas as much as we do. Now let’s the parties begin!

 

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weekend and sticky buns

Another beautiful weekend that went by way too fast once again! All that gorgeous snow this morning really putted us all in a festive mood… while also catching us by surprise, as we didn’t have our winter tires installed yet… but thanks to my brothers-in-laws, it’s now done!

So it was a PD day on Friday and it turned out being my turn to be off work at school; called my Mom Thursday night, made some plans for the Friday morning, dropped off the boys at daycare and left on a little road trip to the States for the day. The drive was awesome and the shopping too! Of course the first stop was Target, and as expected, it was just awesome and I was able to cross off many things from my list. Got to see the new Joanna and Chip line, unfortunately, all I wanted was already gone… oh well, next time! One of my favorite lunch place is Panera’s. I know we have it here now, but it’s just not the same… I don’t know, I just love to go to Panera’s every time I’m in the States! So right after I had paid for my sandwich and soup, on my way to my table, after I had waited in line for a long time, I spotted some delicious looking Pecan Sticky Buns. I was so mad I hadn’t seen them before, and I didn’t wanted to do the line again, so I didn’t get it, but then they were on my mind all afternoon long!

So by Saturday morning, at about 7h30 am, I was on a mission as I had decided that I was finally going to have some Pecan Sticky Buns, once and for all.

I’ve used Chatelaine’s recipe and tweaked it a bit. It turned out to be quite easy to do, and oh my, sooo DELICIOUS. I will be making these on Christmas morning for sure. And you should too! Here it goes:

Pecan Sticky Buns

What you need:

Dough:

3 cups flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 pack quick-rise instant yeast

1 tsp salt

1/3 cup hot water

1/2 cup hot milk

2 tbsp melted butter

1 egg

Sauce:

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

2 tbsp honey

1 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup pecans

Filling:

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 tsp cinnamon

How to:

In a large bowl, mix1 cup of flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Add the milk, hot water, butter and egg. Using a wooden spoon, add 1 3/4 cup of flour to the bowl, all while stirring until the dough comes together. Knead the dough in the bowl for 4 minutes. Preheat your oven at 160 and insert the bowl with a damp cloth over it. Turn off oven and let rise for an hour.

Meanwhile, melt 1/4 cup of butter with 1/3 cup brown sugar, honey and vanilla in a saucepan for the sauce. Cook on medium heat until bubbly. Pour into a 9×13 baking dish. Sprinkle with chopped pecans. I only sprinkled half of the dish with the nuts, leaving half for regular buns. But definitely better with!

In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, butter and cinnamon to create a paste. Then leave aside.

Remove dough from oven. Preheat the oven at 350 for baking the buns. Sprinkle flour on a flat surface and place the dough. Using a rolling pin, spread the dough and try roll it into a square shape. It’s note easy because the dough will be stretchy, but try your best! Mine was roughly 12”x12”. Spread the brown sugar paste evenly everywhere on the dough. Then start from the bottom and roll tightly.

Using a sharp knife, cut the roll into 12 pieces of about one inch each and lay the pieces in the baking dish. Lightly brush a bit of vegetable oil on top of the buns.

Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes. Chatelaine recommend to cover with foil if they get golden too fast, but I didn’t have to do it. Remove from oven and let stand for a few minutes. The sauce will be extremely hot. Using a cookie sheet and parchment paper, cover the baking dish and flip the dish over. Be careful, this is very hot! But very good!!!

Honestly, I never had any Pecan Sticky Buns before, so I can’t really compare, but these tasted amazing. The dough was easy to make, and so soft. I will be using this recipe for donuts and bread. If you don’t bake often, this recipe is super easy. One big bowl does the trick, no need for super appliances or gadgets.

The caramel sauce with pecans is kind of addictive. I’m telling you, this recipe should definitely be part of your Holidays’ baking list; as it will not disappoint! Have a great week my friends!

  

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a wish list for everybody

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?  I have to admit that I already have a few items crossed off my shopping list.  You know, every year seems to be the same… I come up with this cool wish list but then no one gets me anything from it!!!  So this year, I’ve decided to prepare these simple wish lists, not only for myself, but for everyone you may have on your on shopping list!  I’ve always LOVED Christmas shopping, but things have change a little in the last few years, and I have to admit that I now do a large share of it online.  Shopping in the comfort of your home, while snuggling in a chunky blanket, not worrying about the traffic jam while getting out of the mall is AWESOME!  So all the items here can be bought through the links and in store as well.

 

1- Bears Reading Socks: I’m obsessed with these.  Bought myself a similar pair because I’ve been wanting one for so long and I knew Bry wouldn’t buy me these!  Now the boys both want a pair and I will buy these for sure.  So warm and chunky for the cutest toes!

2-Osmo: So my father-in-law bought this for the kids last year and we love it.  It’s great to find educational games for the Ipad, and these are so innovative.  We will for sure get the pizza parlor game this year.

3-Wifi Sweater: Always looking for different and simple clothing for the boys.  Love this sweater, and Liam would totally rock that shirt ‘cuz he’s always asking for the internet everywhere he goes!

4-Moonlite: I just found out about this and it’s awesome.  A new version of the View Master I use to have when I was little.  You attach this thing on your phone, download the app and watch the image of your favorite classic books on the ceiling.  Love, love, love this!

5-GAP Star Wars PJ’S: This one is for my Loggy.  This will probably be his last Baby Gap pajama’s (I want to cry!!!).  How fun is this Star Wars Fair Isle?  Not sure why they didn’t make it in bigger size!

6-Bath Dropz: This goes directly into their stockings.  We love Crayola Bath Dropz.  Small little pills that color the bath water and create different color combination when mixed!  Always a hit!

7-Lego: What’s not to love about this?  Lego & Cars?  Hello, this will be under our tree for sure!

1-Melissa Sugar Rain Boots: Okay, well I’m in love and I need a baby girl!  No, we’re not having another baby but these boots makes me want to!  If only they made these in my size, I would kick my old Hunters goodbye and live in these.

2-Candy Kirby Dolls: These dolls are gorgeous!  They are all handmade and comes from a small shop.  Candy Kirby also sells the most gorgeous newborn nightgowns and amazing clothing.  The boys have some sweat pants I bought 3 years ago and they still fit!  The dolls have been picked out by Nordstrom and will sell in store this holiday season!

3-Mermaid Fins: I kinda want these for myself!  Aren’t these the best?  Instead of regular feet palm, you’re a mermaid.  Enough said!

4-Guac shirt: This t-shirt sums up my life!  Please get this for your girls… because, they ARE extra!

5-The Parent Trap: I was 17 when this came out and I have probably watch this a few times a year since then.  And it still old up… well, kind of… like who would split their twins… no wonder that poor Lindsay is so messed up now!

6-Swan Slippers: OMG… these are the most fantastic slippers I’ve ever seen.  I would sooo buy them!

7-Mickey Jacket: Everybody needs a jean jacket, please stand out and pick a Mickey one!  Insert heart emoji right here!

1-The Beatles Vinyl: Anything music is always a hit in our house, but Vinyl, we LOVE.  We kept on collecting them even when they weren’t “in”, but now it’s so easy to find them and I love it.

2-Beau’s Beer: My husband has been wanting a subscription to Beau’s monthly beer delivery for a while now.  I think it’s an awesome gift for every craft beer lover.

3-Gramophone: This might be the best Christmas present I ever bought Brian.  Got it 3 years ago and not one day since then we haven’t used this Gramophone.  No cords, just insert your iPhone and the Gramophone amplifies your music.  It’s probably the most talked about object in our house.

4-Cozy blanket: Okay, so maybe this one should me on my list, but if I’m the one who asked for it, he will still be the one to steal it during movie night!

5-Chess: I think Bry has played something like 1500 games of chess in the last 2 years.  And now that the boys have started to play as well, I think this is the cutest little travel set.  We need it for on the go.

6-Red Sox t-shit: Anything Red Sox could have worked here, but I love this shirt I found on Etsy from the 2004 World Series title.  All of his favorite players from 2004.  With Pedro on it, this is for sure a winner!

7-Slippers: Found these at Nordstrom and I love them.  Perfect for winter BBQ on the deck!  Yep, you’ve read it right, we BBQ all year long, even when surrounded by 4 feet of snow.And now the perfect gifts for your Maman’s!

1-Glitter Slippers: Every Mommy needs to feel like Cinderella sometimes.  And these slippers are the answer!  Hope to find these under my tree… hint hint!

2-Festive Candle: Festive smell is one of my favorite ways to create ambiance in our home.  This mini candle is perfect for your room!

3-Lillian & Co Bracelet: My new favorite jewelry.  I wear mine every single day.  Lillian & Co is a small business that makes gorgeous bracelet with Disney quotes.  What’s not to love.

4-Harry Potter Spatula: I swear I’ll go bankrupt will all this Harry Potter merchandise that keeps popping up everywhere I go.  Williams Sonoma made these awesome spatula, now I’m hoping I’ll get the Gryffindor one… which one will you choose?

5-I love Winter hat: Although I may not want to wear this in March when I’ll be fed up with all the snow, for now, I just love love love this beautiful an soft hat.  Every body need a little sequins right?

6-Holiday PJ’s: You know I’m a sucker for festive pj’s.  My husband not so much.  Oh well, I hope to find one that matches the boys’…  and this one from Target is just adorable.

7-David’s Tea: So you have your glitter slippers on, your husband blanket and your kids’ Parent Trap movie.  Now all you need is a cup of tea.  David’s Tea is the best and their packaging are gorgeous.

Had so much fun working on these wish lists, hope you have find inspiration for every one on yours.  Can’t wait for all the festive decorations to be up in the malls and for the frenzy to start.  The holidays are truly the best time of the year.  But the best gift will always remain to be together.  Nothing beats a full house of relatives and a Christmas tree a la Clark Griswold!  Only 43 days ’till Christmas!  Happy shopping!

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my new very goodfood

I really love to cook, like I’ve always enjoy doing it, especially when I have a lot of time to do it, or when I try new recipes, or when I’m entertaining and having people over for dinner.  You know, as a younger couple, before Liam and Logan were part of our life, Brian and I used to cook and try so many different meals on weeknights; but as of late we’ve been kind of lazy, and I feel like it’s been getting worst and worst over the past few years… until we’ve realized, not too long ago, that we had fallen into some sort of weeknights meal rut where we would eat the same kind of boring meals, week after week.  But that was until my girlfriend Véro introduced me to a food delivery service she had been trying for the last few weeks… really, a way out from having spaghetti every Tuesday night?  Wow, thanks Véro, what a great timing!!!  So right there, while thinking of my next Tuesday night meal, I knew I had to give it a shot!

So It’s called Goodfood.  The day after she told me all about it I did a bit of research and I was hooked, like immediately.  The website was just awesome, easy friendly, with FAQ, information about the recipes, about where they get the food and how it will be delivered right to your door… so you select the package that is most convenient for your family, the best delivery dates, and then you get to select your meals… that was the best part, of course!  Well, it was, until the moment when I actually received my first meal kit.  Receiving my first box was so much fun.  From the very moment I signed up I had been eager to receive my first box.  I was so excited about that weeknight meal, you have no idea.  So excited to cook something fancy for my family on a Monday night!  And so excited to try something new.  And I was NOT disappointed, from the moment I opened the box until we sat for diner… as it was just so good!

First, the packaging was amazing.  My first delivery was on a warm day and I was a bit skeptical about it all, you know, with fresh produces waiting for me on my front porch… but once I opened it up, everything was nicely packed, cool and fresh, along with beautiful colored and easy to read recipes (that I will certainly keep for future use!).  Each meal as its own clear bags of produce with EVERYTHING you will need for the recipe!  If the recipe calls for one clove of garlic, then you get one clove of garlic, that simple!  There’s nothing I hate more than having to throw away good food because we didn’t use enough of it in a recipe or during the week.  With this food service, we use what we need and in the end there is so much less waste.

The only thing you might use from your kitchen is salt and pepper, olive oil and water.  Every bottles and jars are carefully labelled in English and French!  The packaging is sooo pretty, you’d think Martha Stewart packed it all herself!  Another plus, all the boxes, bags, jars and bottles can all be recycled, even the ice-packs, which is just awesome cause it’s environmentally friendly.  Which I try to be, you know.

As for the recipes… nothing short of AMAZING so far!  We’ve already tried food we had never had before and we all loved it, even the boys loved it too!  Everything is tasty and well portioned.  So, if you don’t know it yet, well so far, I am really impressed! And just to be clear, so you all understand, this is not pre-made or pre-cooked, like you may save some time in the end, but you really need some preparation and cooking time… it’s just easier to do, with all the right ingredients, spices, meats and produces right there for you… so don’t worry here, you won’t lose that feeling of being the real deal, cause with Goodfood, you still feel as the ‘Chef’ of your very own kitchen!

One of the biggest perks is that I can skip a week or two and place an order only for the weeks we want to get some food delivered.  And if I ever decide to stop, I can do it at any time.  But I don’t think I will!!!  Cause right now, I am just so happy I was introduced to Goodfood… as I’ve been pleased with all of our meal choices so far… and not only we now eat nice varied meals, it did bring back some fun and excitement to our weeknight dinners and cooking!!!

So, I’ve got a deal for you if you’d like to try it.  You can sign up using this link and get 40$ off your first order.  I’m telling you, this will cost you less than what you would pay for quality food at the grocery store in order to cook these fancy and delicious recipes.  So no reason not to try it, really!

Let me know if you’re considering trying it but still have some questions … I know I sure did when I first signed up.  I would be happy to try and help you deal with you’re weeknight meal rut and bring back some excitement into your kitchen!

So today is Monday, and guess what, I’ve just tried an awesome new Thai shrimp curry recipe!

Have fun cooking and bon appétit mylemondroplife friends!

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t’was the weekend before halloween

It was another crazy jam-packed week at our house.  I often/always make too many plans… at least this week there were a lot of Halloween’s related activities, which I’ll never get enough of!

So on Friday night, we visited Pumpkin Inferno at Upper Canada Village; where over 7000 beautiful pumpkins are all lighten up and displayed in different themes and sections of the village. We were joined by my sister-in-law, her family and matante Lulu for the evening. So right after work, we all changed and got ready to leave, picked up a super healthy diner at McDonald’s and then drove the 1:25 it takes from our house to get there. Just about 20 minutes before we arrived, I kind of had a flash that I may had forgotten the boys winter jackets. So we stopped on the side of the road, opened the trunk, to see nothing else than my own jacket in there. Yep, parents of the year, once again. The boys were wearing sweaters, but with a very cold October night ahead, we were in trouble. Well, the boys were in trouble, cause Brian and I were fine with our Fall jacket on! So we went through a couple of stores that were still opened, including the local Home Hardware, but nope, couldn’t find anything there. So we got to Upper Canada Village, parked the car, gave the boys our jackets while we were all waiting in line, and once we made it in, we got the boys a nice souvenir from Upper Canada Village: two –way too large- jackets that they’ll probably never wear again. Ah well, at least we had a great time and the boys didn’t freeze too much. It is such a beautiful place to visit, whether you love or not Halloween. I wish these pumpkins were all in my front yard!

So then on Saturday night there was a surprise party organized for my friend Karine, which turned out to be like an all-day event! But such a fun day where we all had a blast! First we had lunch at Fraser Café in Ottawa. I had never been there, and it was simply delicious. I want to go back like right now, and try other things from their awesome menu! We then took a walk on the parkway with the most gorgeous Fall weather. Then I went back home to finish the surprise birthday cake, and then back to another restaurant for the surprise party with friends and family. Seriously, I’m getting way too old for this, but since it was my friend’s birthday I went along with it… and we stayed at the pub until past 1:00 am… ouch!!! Let just say that Sunday was a very lazy day for me. We did the treat bags and carved out our pumpkin, all while watching The Nightmare Before Christmas. We had a little theme going on with Jack Skellington pie and hand painted mugs we used for hot chocolate. With all that cold rain, we really needed it! So then, painfully, I got through Sunday without even a nap.

Monday was for last minute Halloween preps. Making sure the Cars’ costumes were secure enough to bring to school, started to crimped my hair for my own costume (newfound respect for my Mom who used to do my hair like that when I was a kid and also for all the girls who were teens in the late 80’s), and then stocked the boys Halloween owl’s chairbacker with treats.

Finally, the 31 rolled in and you would have thought it was Christmas morning in our house! So much excitement, from like every one! I love this so much… we got all dressed up, even Brian who’s not really into it normally picked up some stuff from his wardrobe and dressed up as… I’m not even gonna say what he said he was, he’d be too happy if I did!

So I got dressed up as Moana, so much fun, but so cold outside with my light outfit! Then I brought the boys at school with their huge car costume. As soon as they were in they started to drive and cruise through the school’s corridors. The school hadn’t started yet but you could clearly feel the energy from all the kids excitement! Good luck teachers!

Then finally, time for trick or treating! But it was so cold outside… so I decided to leave my costume behind and settled for my Uggs boots and mittens. After 30 minutes outside, we had done every house on our street, we all had enough and got back home to dive into candy heaven! I will say this, my children have much more control over candy than I do/did as a kid! I don’t even think Liam had one piece. He counted them all, made sure he had as many as his brother, but didn’t really ate any. He did wake up this morning with way less in his bowl. Ooops! I won’t say how many I had… I’m kind of ashamed, really! LOL.

So that’s a wrap for Halloween 2017. Decoration are coming down tonight. Clean up is underway. Now, I won’t say I’m ready for Christmas already, but I got my eyes on a festive pj’s and it shouldn’t be long before it’s mine!

Hope you all had a happy Halloween and eat some candies and chocolate bars!

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an harry potter kinda weekend

This weekend was nothing short of amazing. I’m exhausted today, but it was sooo worth it. I had been eyeing an Harry Potter concert in Montreal for months, and early last week, Brian got us three tickets for Saturday night; and I have been prepping ever since! Liam and I have been watching Harry Potter every chance we got over the last 6 months, and I knew he would love the concert. Logan, not so much! That’s why he only got 3 tickets!

So on Friday night, I organized the ultimate Harry Potter and the Sorcerers’ Stone viewing party to set the mood for the next day. I decorated the living room with floating candles, houses crest, books, more candles, and our wands, of course!

For the occasion I had baked a cake, prepared some nutella filled  “Howlers” pop-tarts, had some popcorn ready, filled lots of different sized jars with candy and chocolate, and displayed all of it on our huge credenza. We also brought up the kids playroom tv for the occasion. So once we got home from work and school, the boys played outside with the neighbors before inviting them to come inside and watch the Harry Potter movie and share the fun night with them. They had never watched the movie so I was very excited for them… they’re so lucky to see this movie for the first time! They all had lots of popcorn while Logan had way too much candy and chocolate; but still, he was the first one to ask to go to bed!

On Saturday morning we cleaned up the house and left for Montreal, while dropping Logan at my Mom’s place on the way there. We rarely go out with only one child. Maybe we should do it more often, but they pretty much like the same things, and it’s fun to spend some family time, so we always bring both of them with us, whatever we do. But on Saturday we decided that we would try to do this more often with only one of them since Liam just loved it, and I’m sure Loggy will too! Liam even told us couple times that he felt like he was on a vacation with the two of us! I thought it was so cute for him to tell us that. And I loved that he felt like that! I guess he needs time away from his brother once in a while!

So we went shopping with him… wow, so much easier with only ONE kid!!! Then we brought him over to Scarolie’s for diner; which is Brian and I favorite Italian place in Montreal (and has been ever since the first time we’ve been there on one of our first date back in the 90’s when we were just teenagers!). Liam loved his pasta, ate a lot of bread, and with a 4:30 reservation for three, well by 5:45 we were out of there and on our way to Place des Arts, Downtown Montreal. Once we made it there, Liam putted on his Gryffindor robe while I wore my Luna sunglasses. Liam and I had also both brought our wands! Good thing cause Liam would have surely wanted one, and they were like 50$… while mine costed around 1$ to make! Not bad, right? But of course we had to buy him something! So when he saw an owl stuffed animal who looked just liked a mini version of Harry’s, how could I say no! So he was walking in Place des Arts with his owl looking just like Harry!

So we made it to our mezzanine seats, and the concert hall was full. The show consisted of the second movie of the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, on a large high definition screen with a live symphony orchestra playing the movie score. It was quite impressive to watch –and to hear– the orchestra, and sometime I would completely forget about the movie and just get lost and captivated by the music, and vice versa. Even though it’s a very long movie, Liam didn’t take his eyes away from the screen, even for a minute. Once the show was over, he told me he was coming back in June for the next movie. I didn’t even know that there was another show coming up. Guess he saw that somewhere! But of course we will be back. This will probably become an annual date with Liam… as we both like movies, music, and a bit of magic! So by the time we made it back to the car, Little Harry was pretty tired, and before we even got out of the theater parking lot, he was sound asleep.

Sunday consisted of visiting family and playing in a huge piles of leaves. We so lucky with this mild October weather that we are trying to spend has much time outside as possible.

We had a perfect Fall weekend. Hope you have a magical week my friends!

 

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cruising straight to halloween

It’s almost time! Halloween is upon us! And we are READY!!!

The candies have been bought, the decorations have been up for a while, we have a regular requests for Halloween pajama comes bedtime, and now we have a daily Halloween parade happening every night in our house, cause I am FINALLY done with their Cars costumes! Although I’ve spent a lot of time making some pretty amazing Halloween costumes for my friends and I over the years, especially back in our early twenty’s when we would go out all night on Halloween night and win prizes, well this year’s costumes will definitely go down as the most time consuming, space taking and glue gunning costumes EVER. If the kids complain about the weight of their costumes, I’m blaming it on the glue! And then I’m telling them to shut up and forcing them to wear it a little more! (I’d like to specify that I won’t really be doing that; got to be careful with humor nowadays).

So, I’ve always been Cars obsessed, like, ever since the first movie came out… and this was one of the first Pixar movie I’ve showed the boys… and just like me, they’ve been in love with McQueen and his friends since. But last year, our love for Cars grew to a whole new level after we visited Cars Land at Disney California Adventure. So, since going to Disney, with the last Cars movie coming up last summer, it basically was a McQueen year at our house with Cars everywhere. I knew the second I saw a boxed costume of McQueen on Pinterest that I needed to step up my glue-gunning-skills and get to work. Cause after all, I needed 2 cars.

Back in August, I loaded my house with huge cardboard boxes I was able to find, and then invaded my kitchen with fabrics and all kinds of crafty thing I knew I’d need for this project. Now that they’re done, I can say I am in LOVE with how they turned out; just not sure it was worth the 15 hours it took to make each of them. Yep, I guess I really love Cars and craft and Halloween to spend that much time on DIY kids costumes. But I mostly did it before the admiring eyes of my boys, looking at it every steps of the way (probably wondering when it would actually look like Cars!), sometimes helping me, so it was all worth it!

Liam wanted to be Cruz Ramirez, and Logan, his beloved Lightning. So after many hours of works, last Sunday morning, both cars were finally declared done and ready for a test drive. One look at them riding their new cars and I knew it was well worth the mess. They kept on running and laughing and bumping each other, and then even agreed to go out to take pictures. Liam even asked me to put a Cars song on my cell phone and put it in his car to make like a car radio… so he was cruising while listening to the Cars soundtrack… I just love when they ask for small things like that that reminds me of things I would have also asked as a kid. He’s after my heart this one! He also requested a Cars Day. I guess I’m rubbing off on him! So now we’re planning to have one of those on November 7 when the new movie will be out on Blue Ray, so they can sit in their cars and watch the movie, Drive-In style!

But for now, we’ll continue to parade in our costumes, and you might even spot us on the streets, dancing and singing ‘Life could be a dream, life could be a dream, sha-boom, sha-boom’! All that, of course, while patiently waiting for October 31st for the real Lightning and Cruz parade. Hoping the next few days go by fast so I can eat some of my kids mini chocolate bars! Ka-Chow!!!

 

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