homemade hand soap

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

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

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

Foamy Hand Soap

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

Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap

Vegetable Glycerin

Essential oils 

Distilled water

Foam pump bottle

How to: 

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

Add 2 Tbsp. of Vegetable Glycerin

Then, 10-15 drops of essential oils

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

Mix slowly, add the pump and wash away!

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

Enjoy, and go wash your hands now!

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school is out, summer is IN

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

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

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

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

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a different kind of easter

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

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

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

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

-Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs eggs

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

-Egg carton painted flower wreath

-Bunny sugar cookie cake

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

-Read cute Easter books with the boys

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

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

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

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

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

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our homemade bread

Well that what quite the turn of events… On Thursday March 12, at about 4 pm, 14 hours prior our flight departure, we pulled the plug on our long awaited Disney World trip due to the coronavirus/Covid-19 crisis. We were completely heartbroken. So while the boys and I were crying our hearts out, Brian was on three different phones, calling the airline, hotel, car rental, etc. It was a real mess… but he was so patient with all this, knowing he was not the only one in this situation. After countless phone calls and hours on hold, he was finally able to get everything cancelled by Monday morning. So since then, like most people, we’ve been shackled down in our home, which I guess is not that bad. Our new daily routine includes taking walks, playing millions of games, drawing and crafting, as well as, since Monday morning, homeschooling the boys. I’m use to being with the boys for long periods of time, aka SUMMER, so the real adjustment has been with Brian. He’s really not used on staying home for long period of time. To say it’s been an adjustment would be putting it mildly! He had to get a hobby. And I am so glad he did! So while it’s getting trickier to run to the store to get some groceries amid this crisis, my husband has decided to make his own bread… and to my surprise, it’s not bad! 

Our first try was really a test. But now that he’s tweaked the recipe, it’s actually just perfect! So I’ve decided to share it with you since you probably also have a bit more time on your hands and making bread is definitely now one of the highlights of our days!

Baking, bread, family, food, comfort food,
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easter amazon list

Easter is only a few short weeks away and being in quarantine doesn’t make shopping for our little bunnies easy. So, I’m bringing you the best AMAZON EASTER LIST you are going to find! Most of these items can be shipped with Prime in a few days. Oh, if you don’t have Prime by now, get it! You’ll get two-day shipping on mostly everything on top of Prime movies and TV Shows… because let’s face it, if you have to stay home for a month like I do, it’s not gonna take long before you’ve seen all the best Netflix has to offer! Bonus, your husband can watch Jack Ryan or Treadstone, so it’s like you got them an early Easter present! So go ahead and fill out that cart… might has well add extra chocolate at the end, because you will NEED it at one point in the next few weeks! Hoppy shopping!

1. Instax: Still can’t get enough. Even if we have 2 in our house, I’m thinking I need one too!

2. Bunny Diffuser: You will need to diffuse lots of oil in the next little while and why not do it in Easter style. I recommend Stress Away from Young Living, especially if you have a few kids running around the house all-day.

3. Le petit lapin magique: Our favourite Easter book (there’s also one for Christmas). Only 2 books in this collection but they are so adorable. The drawings are soft and it’s a perfect gift for your little book lover. Logan loves to read this one to me… it’s the sweetest thing ever for my little bunny lover.

4. Bubble gun: I hate bubbles but the boys love them. It’s spring now, so send them outside and let them have fun. And no more sticky fingers with this bubble gun!

5. Egg Chalk: Need, need, need. We go through so much chalk over here it’s insane. These are super cute to add to your basket loot.

6. Mini scooter: Snow on the ground will soon be all gone and your young ones will love to ride this thing. So instead of giving them an easter basket, organize a treasure hunt around the house so they can find the scooter in the driveway at the end. That’s what I did 4 years ago and it was such a success.

7. Bunnies by the Bay: This one is my FAV. Logan’s bunny. We have 3 (well 5 if you count the 2 we’ve lost along the way) and he sleeps with them every night. Perfect for baby’s first Easter. The entire Bunnies by the Bay collection is awesome.

8. Sushi Go: We have this game and it’s the cutest. Fun too. Play this after diner or on the go at the restaurant. A family favourite.

9. Bunny Thermos Bottle: The cutest bottle to add to your collection.

10. Unicorn Bath Bombs: So many choices on Amazon, but I chose these because of their colors. Perfect for Easter.

11. iPhone Cable Have a teenager on that list? Get them a new cable… cause you know they are going to end up using yours. Love the Amazon Basics line. And the cable works great. I used to know because my boys (not sure which one of the 3) stole my pink one!

12. Jumpin’: We love this game. It’s not easy at all. Lots of levels for everyone to enjoy.

13. Bunny socks: Bought those a few years ago and we still wear them. Adorable, get a pair for each member of the family and then get the cutest picture.

14. How to draw Harry Potter: This item will for sure be in both boys’ basket. We’re obsessed with HP so we definitely need this. And the price is pretty awesome too!

15. Bunny Eye Mask: How cute!?! And inexpensive. Added to my cart already!

16. Mandalorian Lego: My boys can’t wait to get their hands on this set. They are obsessed… who am I kidding… I’m obsessed too!

17. IQ XOXO: Portable game. Perfect for long drives or at the restaurants. Not sure who loves it more, the boys or Brian. Great for the entire family.

18. Rainbow Stacking Blocks: I just love fun toys for babies that are durable and can be used forever. This set would be a great add to any baby basket.

19. Eggs Are Everywhere: Love a great book with awesome pictures. I’m sure you do too!

20. Meri Meri Bunny Pouch: God I need one for myself. Enough said!

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a white kitchen

So one of my ultimate dream finally came true: TO HAVE AN AMAZING WHITE KITCHEN!!!

From the moment I walked into my house while doing house hunting about 6 years ago, I knew this is where I was going to stay, but I also knew that this kitchen had to be re-done in white one day. It should have never been brown-ish from the first place. I remember walking through it for the first time and picturing it all-white, and it was so beautiful! So it was my only condition for buying the house. It needed to be white within 6 months. Well, 6 months turned into over 5 years, but we finally did it, we re-did our kitchen, and it is exactly as I’d pictured it in 2015, or even better, and here’s how it all happened.

Last spring, we started to talk about our summer plans, what we wanted to do in the next year, where we wanted to go, Brian was looking at houses on the market for our friends who were looking to move in town, and from time to time he would show one to me and say things like ‘‘look at this one… this one is really nice… would you like this one for us?’’. For me things were quite simple, like let’s not travel this summer and please stop looking at other houses, cause I love my house and I want to stay here, but let’s redo our kitchen, in white, please! Well if you follow my blog you know that we ended up traveling quite a bit last summer, so I guess I didn’t win that one – for now.

So summer happened and my plans were kind of put on hold, and instead of re-doing our kitchen, we went on multiple road trips and had a blast in the pool all summer long! Brian had actually never been a fan of this whole kitchen-reno-project-idea of mine. So I knew it would be a tough sell with him. But then, on my last weekend off of the summer, out of nowhere, I asked Brian if we could go to Ikea on Sunday morning to look at white counter tops, you know, just to get an idea, and he said yes!!! So just like that, this was the beginning of our kitchen reno. So at the same time as our back-to-school, which is probably the most hectic time of the year for me at work and home, we started a huge reno project. I knew that a full kitchen renovation wasn’t going to be easy for us, but man, I was not expecting it to be such an emotional roller coaster. Ishhh… I have to say that he was very good putting up with me for the following two months… still not sure how we got through this. But we did, so good for us!

After that visit to Ikea, I had a pretty good idea where this was going. So here what my original plan looked like: do it all ourselves, let’s paint the cabinets white, let’s take out that awful backsplash and replace it with white subway tiles, let’s put the cheapest white countertop we can find and then repaint the room floor to ceiling. Easy enough, right? I really thought we could do all of this in about a weekend or so. Hummmm, not really. That trip to Ikea was actually a game changer for me. While I thought I would have to settle for the cheapest laminate countertop to stay within our budget, I realized that getting a bright and shiny white Quartz countertop would actually not cost me a leg and an arm. So we shopped around a little and found the perfect all-white countertop at Granstone in Ottawa. Brian sent an email to the store for a quote on a Monday, picked up a few samples on the Wednesday, got some measurements done a week later, and basically, not even a month after sending that original email, all was done and it looked A-MA-ZING.

Granstone went above and beyond all of my expectations. First, their prices were really competitive, like we were so impressed with the price for the Quartz countertop that after receiving the first quote, we immediately asked them to add a quote for the backsplash, which they ended up doing as well. Dealing with them was actually the best part and the smoothest part of our entire reno. Like, I can’t for the life of me visit a renovation store when it comes to picking and choosing between this tile or that one. So many choices, way too many possibilities, and definitely not enough patience. So I sent Brian to pick out a few white countertop samples to bring back home and I selected my favorite one. Did the same with the backsplash. After that, within a few days, our kitchen was completely transformed. Here’s how it went down: on day one the tiles and counter were removed, on day two the wall was prepped for the new backsplash and on day three they brought in and installed my gorgeous Quartz white countertops. I was in love with it from the moment I saw it. Took a picture of my Big Mac meal that evening (because you eat lots of junk food during a kitchen reno) and posted it on Instagram saying something like: “Isn’t this the most beautiful Big Mac meal you’ve ever seen?” with the beaming white countertop in the back. I couldn’t stop staring at it. The following week was the backslash. I think I cried when it was done. We had it installed up to the ceiling and it’s so different and soft and perfect. They did an amazing job and I am so happy we found Granstone in the first place. If you’re thinking about doing a kitchen reno, you need to visit them. Oh, you can try to find a better price or better service somewhere else, but you won’t! If we would have known before, we would have done our kitchen reno years ago. We’ve already sent 2 of our friends there so far and they’ve both had amazing experiences. Ask for Jen, mention the blog, and you’ll get a discount, I swear!

So while the transformation with Granstone went smoothly, painting the cabinet didn’t. The original plan was to do everything ourselves, and now, all that was actually left for us to do was painting the cabinets, and it ended up being like HELL. I’ve had too many meltdowns to count and too many arguments to last a lifetime during that awful month. After the countertops and backsplash were done, I had no time to lose, the eager beaver in me wanted this project completed NOW!!! So I picked up the primer on a Friday night, washed and rinsed the cabinet doors with the recommended product, let everything dry for 24 hours, took the doors off and brought them downstairs in our Dexter’s kill room ready to be spray painted. Then our friends Danika and Scot came over to help us prime the cabinet doors. We were really counting on them to help us with this project since they had already painted their kitchen cabinets by themselves and the result was glorious (and because I had no clue whatsoever what I was getting myself into). So they came in with all the gears we could possibly need for this. They also came with a few advice, like when Scot said ‘’I’m pretty sure you need to sand those doors first, eh’’. But I had been told we could probably do it without sanding first, so in order to save time, that’s what we did. We aligned the 52 cabinet doors and drawers and gave a first coat of primer. Yes, 52. It took about 10 minutes with the spray paint gun, not bad, right? 

After an hour of drying time, I went downstairs and that’s when I saw the mess. The primer did not stick to the wood. It had made bubbles everywhere and I wanted to scream. I was in total disbelief and couldn’t understand what was happening to us. So the next day we looked into it, googled what to do now, went back to the store, and apparently the first step for a project like this one is very simple, and it’s called ‘’take the time to sand those freaking cabinet doors first’’. So we brought all of the cabinet doors and drawers back upstairs, then outside a few at a time, stripped the first coat of primer, sanded both sides, and then washed and rinsed them all one by one. It doesn’t sound like much now, but at that point, our renovation project had taken a turn for the worse. Over the course of the following 14 days that’s literally all I did after work and on the weekends, and almost all by myself since Brian was out of town for work for a full week. It was a total chaos. I cried every time I picked up a new piece and brought it outside to work on it. Once we were done, my mom rewashed all of the doors and drawers and we started the primer part again. We gave 2 coats of primer, then 2 or 3 coats of paint depending on the results, and after about 40 hours of work, I was done. Oh, and I only painted the doors and drawers, as my mom ended up being the one priming and painting the cabinet frames while we were at work and the boys at school since you can’t really paint a kitchen with kids running around!

So I said earlier that the first time I walked into my kitchen I knew it had to be white… well I also had a few more ideas that came with it. One of the first thing I did was to order gold cabinet knobs on Amazon, and after 3 different orders, I finally got it right with my champagne gold knobs! Also bought a gold faucet, on Amazon as well, for like a quarter of the price I would have paid in store and it’s AMAZING. I originally went to a few stores to find the perfect gold faucet and I got a ‘’no we don’t, but please come back in like 20 years ago’’ answer. Eh, have you seen my kitchen, B*tch! I also knew that I needed to remove one of the stand-alone cabinet to make the room brighter. And that’s what I did. And it was one of the best decision of the entire project. It looks so much better now. That cabinet was right between the two windows and did absolutely nothing else than store crap. So I removed it, had backsplash installed up to the ceiling, and then decided to put two wooden floating shelves right between the windows. I was a bit skeptic at some point when Brian started to drill holes through my gorgeous ceramic tiles to mount the floating shelves properly, but he installed them like it was his day job and it worked perfectly! And now I’m obsessed with them. It’s like the perfect little spot to store my favorite mugs and candid pictures or festive little decorations. It really opened up the space and the wood gave some balance to all the white. Oh, yeah, about the balance with all the white… well at some point after we had primed the cabinet frames, Brian started to have this idea that it was going to be too white. I was confident it wouldn’t and argued with him that this was actually the point, to have a white kitchen. But after looking at pictures on Pinterest (that he found on his own new Pinterest account!), I decided that painting the island a different color may actually be the way to go. So I wanted pink, he wanted some sort of blue-green, and we settled for blue. A truly unique blue. We bought half a paint of blue. Didn’t like it. Bought another blue. Didn’t like it either. Bought a third blue. Still didn’t like it. Then, we started to mix them together and ended up trying different combinations until we found the perfect blue. With the gold knobs, and the white countertop, it is so beautiful. 

The installation of the doors and drawers was bittersweet. I was so happy to finally have a white kitchen, yet so exhausted and tired that I could barely give a sh*t! By that time, all I wanted was to get the walls and ceiling painted asap so we could be done with this and not talk about kitchen reno for a long long time. So instead of doing it ourselves, as originally planned, we asked one of our friend to do it, and within 12 hours, the paint job was all done, which sealed the deal for our kitchen renovation.

It took way longer than I thought, but it was finally over. And now, I am so happy with the results, which is all that matters. Living without a proper kitchen for over a month was hard, especially with two kids. We lived with sealed cabinets for over two weeks, food scattered pretty much everywhere in the living room, tools covering up the kitchen table, cutlery drawers on the floor and way too many take-out meals, but we made it. What’s funny is that I can barely remember how it looked like before without looking at a picture. It’s crazy. It was a great kitchen, but I was right from the beginning, it was sooo meant to be white, and now it is, and I am going to enjoy it to the fullest.

Saturday mornings are now my favorites. I sit in my rocking chair with my pink cozy blanket and a latte in my hands and I can’t keep myself from staring and it. It wasn’t easy, but I would do it all over again in a heartbeat if you’d ask me. My kitchen is where I spend the most time in my home. It’s where I cook meals for my family, where we entertain our friends and family, where the boys do their homework, where we share the best part of our day, where I rock my babies when they have sorrows, where we craft and where we love. And now, we can do all those things in my beautiful and bright WHITE kitchen. And that’s a dream come true!

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n i n e

Yep, I have nine year old boy. I’m so not ready for this… like some days I feel nine myself. But celebrating him last weekend made me feel so old. So, even if I’m not nine, I do NOT feel like the 39 that’s coming up a in a few weeks! 

We spent about 10 days celebrating him! No, I’m serious. And he loved it. We were supposed to host his bday party on the Saturday and then Thursday night we were talking about cancelling it because of a major storm that was coming in. And then I had the brilliant idea to have it the next day instead. So with zero decorations done, no cakes and no food, I hopped into my car, went to Walmart, bought a load of crap and then got it done. Within 4 hours, I had done 2 cakes, prep food, blew about 50 balloons, hung pictures, made a chalkboard and called my mom for reinforcement for the washing-dishes-duty.

Next morning, Liam woke up in a Dog Man universe and he was ecstatic. He was so happy to wake up to a fully decorated house and also that he didn’t have to wait another day for his bday party. And this made me super happy. It hasn’t been the easiest of year for him… he’s dealing with severe social anxiety (something I usually don’t talk too much about), so it’s not always easy for him and by time we’ve struggled. School is very hard, the pressure he’s putting on himself is awful and seeing him feeling like he’s not good enough for anything is heartbreaking. So having some time just for him and celebrating him was just the best.

So after work we hurried back home to put the final touch on the party planning and then waited for our guest. He had chosen the Dog Man party theme because he’s obsessed with the comic books. I think he’s read them 50 times each. So when I suggested it as a party, he was hooked!

The best part of the night was when he went around and asked everyone for a one on one Photo Booth picture for them to remember his party. It was so great to see him ask everybody for a picture, something that is so easy for some to do but for him takes so much courage. And then we made a mosaic of the Polaroid so he could have everyone he loves in one picture.

Celebrating my babies is definitely one of my favorite thing in the world and I will never stop. What do you want, I celebrate everything: good days, an awesome movie, a stuff animal we love or any other days that need a bit more magic.

I’ve read a Chrismas-y quote somewhere and it really captured me, so I’m sharing it with you. “As a grown-up, I’ve learned that all the Christmas magic I felt as a kid was really a mom who loved me so damn much”. That’s basically how I feel. I will never stop believing in magic and I sure hope my boys will never stop either.

So, to my baby boy: I love you so much just the way you are. And always remember, a beautiful thing is never perfect.

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the holidays 2019

Our Christmas holidays are coming to an end and even if I wish this magic could last forever, I feel rested and ready for the New Year!

We’ve been off school and work for the last 16 days and what a break it was. As always, it was jam-packed with so many things to do and places to go, yet, this year, we took the time to take more after-dinner walks, watch more movies and play more board games than during any other winter break.

December is always a busy month for us, but still probably my favorite of them all. We had various Christmas parties throughout the month prior to the actual Holiday seasons: our annual friends Christmas dinner (or should I say our annual dance party) at my friend Vero’s, our annual Lamoureux family Christmas dinner at our place, my aunt famous spaghetti night party and so on. By Christmas Eve, the kids and I were already pros at staying out late and having fun! So the festivities started with a fondue dinner at my mother-in-law, followed by Christmas Eve celebrations at my father-in-law, where the boys got a little suspicious about Santa when he walked in: “Santa looks different”. Not sure what I responded to that but Santa was very good with them, telling them both that he had already went to their place in Rockland and left something there they really wanted, so the magic worked perfectly in the end. Then, not too long after Santa left, Brian’s cousin Gary rejoined the party downstairs. Don’t know what’s up with him, but he misses Santa every year, I guess they can’t be seen in the same room at the same time, or something like that! Hopefully he’ll miss it one more time next year, that’s all I hope for, just one more year of all this magic with Santa…  

So we got home at like 3am and we were all up by 8 to open up some more presents. Santa had eaten the cookies, drank the milk, brought back our Elf Willy with him (Willy should be back on December 1st, 2020), and had brought some more stuffed animals for the boys – I swear we have more than 300 now. As for me, I got the best gift ever, not sure if it was from Santa or Brian, but I am in love with my new SMEG espresso machine… she is a beauty and a perfect match for my new kitchen – I’ll do the kitchen reveal with before and after pictures later this month, I promise.

So since we had previously booked another family trip to Disney for next March break, I wanted to find a fun way to tell them on Christmas morning that we were going to Disney again… Last time I tried to surprise the boys with a Disney trip was actually a total disaster, as they didn’t get it and were quite confused about the stuffed Mickey Mouse they had just received. But I decided to try again, this time with something different and a little more to the point. So I had a custom puzzle made of a picture we took of them right in front of the Magic Kingdom castle during our last trip. Each presents under the tree had a piece of the puzzle on it, so they had to gradually complete the puzzle as we were opening presents, with the last two pieces being them in front of the castle, so they could connect the dots that ‘they’ were going back to Disney. With a few nudges they finally got it. They were happy, maybe not like you see in You Tube videos, but happy nonetheless! I will take it as it was definitely better than last time I tried to surprise them. And I will enjoy and treasure everything leading up to this trip, cause just like Christmas magic, you never know when they will outgrow the Peter Pan magic. Not now please, just one more year, that’s all I hope for… 

Christmas Day was slow and lazy, drinking lattes by the tree and having French onion soup for lunch with my mom and Frank. We played games with the boys all afternoon long while waiting for our guests to arrive. We had an amazing diner and we chatted until late at night. What a beautiful day it was. Then Liam made it either better, or worse, still not sure, when he told me, as I was about to close the light so he could go to sleep, that he had the best Christmas ever and couldn’t wait for next year as Christmas was his favorite day of the year. He definitely made it better, yes, Christmas was perfect this year.

The next few days were spent cuddling, taking walks in the snow, building snow forts and playing more games. We also saw the new Jumanji movie in the theatre and the boys (meaning Brian as well) are now obsessed with the movies and have been watching the new and old ones in loops! We’ve also been binge watching The Office every night until way past my bed time so I have no idea how I’ll get back to my regular schedule as of tomorrow morning!

We always spend NYE with our friends Vero, Mat and their two girls. Back in the days where we didn’t have kids, we used to find classy parties where we would dress up for the occasion, but, oh, not anymore! Our new tradition is to go on a sleigh ride in the afternoon and then spend the evening in our pajamas. So this year we found the most amazing sleigh ride not too far away from home, and it was MAGICAL. With fresh snow falling, we strolled in the most gorgeous sleigh to the sound of sleigh bells, just us, two beautiful horses going through trees covered with snow. This was the best thing I’ve done during my holidays for sure. The Bedard Brunet Family Farm sleigh ride was amazing and peaceful, and I truly recommend them. We will be booking another sleigh ride this winter and we’ve also been talking about going again in the summer. They were telling us about a wagon ride in the forest during the summer, and I just can’t wait to see that. They were so friendly and fun, they even joined in when the kids started singing Christmas carols. I’m obsessed with sleigh rides and this one was definitely the best we have ever had. Thanks again for this wonderful time, we’ll see you soon.

We then headed home for some raclette, movies for the kids (Jumanji, of course) and a late night dance party. We rang the New Year with our best friends, just like we had done in 2010 and 2000, and it was perfect.

So now, the beginning of a new decade, the third one that I’m starting by Brian’s side, and the first one that I’m starting as a mother… and for this one, we have so many plans, and hopes, and dreams, and it’s going to be a great one, I can feel it. This is our time, and we’ll make the best of it. In 2020’s, even if the world around me won’t stop going like a thousand miles per hour, I want to learn to slow down a little, to take a minute, to enjoy what I have and to live in the moment, spending as much time as I can with my family and with the ones I love.

Hope you had the best holiday season, wishing you all health and happiness in the year to come.

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a quick getaway in lake placid

Guess what is the best thing about placing a Christmas pyjamas pick-up order at Target? The weekend getaway that comes with it! My husband is always the first in when it comes to going away for the weekend or for the occasional last minute road trip. So when I told him I had to pick up my Target order in Watertown the upcoming weekend, he said ‘why don’t we go spend the weekend in Lake Placid and pick up your things on the way back?’ He didn’t have to twist my arm! Cause two days later we were picking up the kids early and leaving for the mountains.

The usual drive in the Adirondack is breathtaking, but that day, the sky was filled with clouds and high winds, so it was dark and cloudy, making our drive the longest ever. Once we arrived, we unpacked, took a swim and then went out for a late dinner.

We ended up at Smoke Signals and it was simply perfect. Some of the best ribs I’ve ever had in my life! It was so nice to be away just the four of us, and Smoke Signals was the perfect place for a late night family dinner. It’s such a nice place, with a relaxing vibe, exactly what I was looking for after a long car ride. We then took a stroll down Main Street, even if everything was closed, it was just nice to be out. Back at our hotel, we took another swim and then put on our pj’s and lounged in front of a massive fireplace in the lobby. That made everyone very happy, as we had a great time playing iPads and reading books.

On Saturday, we took a hike! Oh yes we did… our first EVER hike! To say we were not totally prepared for what we had gotten ourselves into would be the understatement of the year. We wore our huge winter coats (first mistake!), we wore some old sneakers and winter boots (second mistake), and we actually thought we could climb to the top (jokes is on us!). All in all, I would say we still did pretty well, even if we didn’t get to the top, given the circumstances… It was getting very icy past the halfway mark, and hikers (who looked like professional hikers) told us on their way back that it would get tricky and dangerous for the boys at some point, with all the ice. Icy or not, the boys were getting a little tired, so we reached about two thirds of Mount Baker, which brought us high enough for some great pictures and to give us a challenge next time we visit Lake Placid. If the conditions would’ve been better, I believe we would have made it. Still, I’m calling this a success. I was so proud of us! We will be back to Mount Baker, and we will get to see the top, mark my words.

After that adventure of ours, we went back to the hotel, enjoyed the pool for about an hour, and then headed out for lunch at Mirror Lake Inn’s, The Cottage. I fell in love with this tiny restaurant 2 years ago when we visited MLI for the Lake Placid Holiday Village Stroll, so when Brian asked me ‘what about spending the weekend in Lake Placid’ a few days earlier, I said yes, but only if we are going to The Cottage. Cozy, laid back and on the water, you feel at ease right away and you might be tempted to stay there all day. Our food was delicious, and even though the boys were a bit moody and tired, we had a great time once again. We then crossed over to the other side to the Mirror Lake Inn lobby, went in, and sat in the lounge a little, which was definitely our favorite thing to do when we stayed there. Brian and the boys went for a little walk through the hotel trying to find our room while I sat by the fireplace. They came back and the first thing they said was that we should come here every winter, as this is their favorite place ever. I truly wish we could, because this is also one of my favorite place ever. 

We left MLI and then took another stroll on Main Street, stopping in a few boutiques along the way. Had some popcorn and lattes and just enjoyed being together in lovely and cozy Lake Placid. 

By the end of the afternoon, we were all exhausted! So we took a nap and woke up refreshed and ready to hit the bowling alley! We had never played with the large bowling balls, so it was quite a challenge and not what the boys had in mind going there. We basically left in tears because we had played so badly, but we still had a blast. We then went back to Main Street to find some place for dinner. We didn’t really know where to go, so Brian picked a place and it ended up that I had one of the best burger I ever had. The Adirondack Brewing Company simply feels like a large cozy cabin… one where you want to go eat a burger at! We had a perfect table next to a window looking out at the outdoor fireplace. Like I said, one of the best burgers of my life… but not only good, also so big that Brian stopped eating his delicious ribs in order to finish my leftovers! We will definitely be back and this time we will definitely order the same thing. So just like that, it was time to go back to our hotel and relax once again by the fireplace before going to bed, as we were heading out to Target early in the morning.

We left the next morning in a snow storm, with no winter tires and two anxious little boys that couldn’t stop asking ‘are we there yet’, referring to Target, not home. It took us at least an hour more than anticipated to get there due to the snow, but we did, we picked up our Christmas pyjamas and a few more goodies from our favorite store and then decided to drive back home right away since the storm was following us!

We are in LOVE with Lake Placid. I can hardly wait to be back. If you are looking to go, you should look into the December 13-15 weekend, just in time for this year’s Lake Placid Holiday Village Stroll. This is the exact same weekend we went two years ago and it was definitely the best time of the year to visit Lake Placid. It was one of the best Christmas experience of my life, thanks to Mirror Lake Inn. If you want to read more about the Mirror Lake Inn or the Holiday Village Stroll, here’s my blog post from two years ago. You will want to go and you will want to visit the Mirror Lake Inn. See you next year Lake Placid!

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christmas pajamas

And just like that, October’s gone and it’s already the Holiday Season! So bring me all the chunky knitted hats, oversized scarves, reading socks and matching pajamas you can find. I really have a soft spot for matching pajamas, so when you mix it up with a Christmas theme, you get me totally obsessed!

So to make things easy for you, I’ve shopped all the best website to find you this season’s best. You’re welcome!

1- Little Drummer Pajama: Gap always delivers, and this year again, their holiday catalogue is awesome. The only down point is they don’t have these cute pj’s in adult size. But if you have a toddler, this pajama is definitely perfect for him! Also, Gap has the best sales. I never buy anything that’s not 40% off. Just subscribe to their email and you’ll never miss on another deal.

2- Pink Santa: PINK and SANTA. Need I say more? You won’t find a better deal! Run, don’t walk, run to get this one before they’re all gone!

3- Charlie Brown: Call me nostalgic if you want, but you could get me the saddest Christmas tree and I would still be very happy as long as I have this pajama. This one is on the more expensive side, but remember, it’s not what’s under the Christmas tree that matters, it’s who’s around it… and the pj they’re wearing!

4- Harry Potter: Did you really think I would pass on HP because this is a Christmas blog? Oh no, I definitely wouldn’t. Especially not when this Harry Potter pajama would make the perfect Christmas morning outfit. Who’s with me on that one? This Mini Boden HP line is to die for, go check it out by yourself!

5- Ski Lifts: So cute and these can last all winter long. Just picture it, cute pj’s, a fireplace and a cabin. I should maybe link a cottage rental as well here. Petit Lem has been a favorite of ours since Liam was a baby. The quality is AMAZING, they’re so soft, and the keep their shape and doesn’t peel. Best purchase you can make! You definitely won’t regret it.

6-Baby Griswold: This makes me want another baby! A baby a la Christmas Vacation. So adorable, you definitely need to get this for your baby’s first Christmas! If your babies are not babies anymore, like mines, well you’ll be happy to know they also comes in sizes up to 7. So all the kiddos can match, and the mommy too! Of course I already bought that one for me!

7- Sleigh all day: Burt’s Bees steels my heart every year with their simple and timeless pieces. I’m in love with this one. Size 0 to 5t. And available at… TARGET! Just one more reason to place an order!

8-Rugby Striped Pajamas: So here’s our 2019 Christmas pajamas. I’ve been eyeing these pj’s forever and finally decided to make the call. These will be cute year round and will match my Christmas décor perfectly, which is all that matters, right? Joking! They are actually perfect, the boys love them, and the intended up-and-down at Target to pick them up turned into a weekend road trip to Lake Placid, which was a great way to start our winter.

9-Stockings PJ: Adorable! But still, it kills me that I can’t justify buying this one. Makes me want a pink tree and everything girly. Hatley is super durable and high quality. Tell me which little girl wouldn’t want to go to bed wearing this on the 24th?

Now, all you have to do is to make yourself a cup of cocoa, put on some Christmas music and shop the night away!

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