the most perfect weekend in prince edward county

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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the best of boston

We were NOT supposed to go to Boston this summer. I repeat, we were NOT supposed to visit Boston. I actually made myself pretty clear that I wanted to skip Boston this summer. But the power of being outnumbered definitely won this one! So we went to Boston.

We had already planned our summer road trips (you can read about our trips to Picton and Kingston), but then at Logan’s bday party, we started chatting about a shopping trip that turned into a “Let’s go to Boston” trip.

So right after I lost that one, being the planner that I am, I started looking for new things to do in Boston, since it was like our 8th or 9th trip there in the last 12 years. Well, even after all these trips, we realised that there were still so many new things to do or discover! We spent 3 days in Boston and went to so many new places, and old, like Fenway Park!

Oh, I’ve decided that instead of sharing our itinerary, I would share our favorite spots in beautiful Boston.

1- Fenway Park: Home of the Boston Red Sox, America’s Most Beloved Ballpark, and Brian’s favorite place in the world. Of course this is the number one on my list!!! Fenway is THE reason why we visited Boston in the first place in 2007 and definitely one of the top reasons why we fell in love with the City of Boston. And coming from a non-baseball-fan, I gotta say, Fenway Park is something else. We’ve been to more than 20 games over the years and we will keep on going to some more every time we will visit Boston, cause even if I hate baseball, I have to go to Fenway if I’m in Boston. This is the oldest ballpark in the U.S. and it has so much history and charm that you can’t help but falling in love the moment you see it. From the tail gating around the stadium, the Green Monster, the delicious foods and beers, the people, the music and the entire stadium singing Sweet Caroline in the 8th inning, I’m telling you, you want to go to Fenway. Go Sox!

2- Boston Common: Probably my favorite place to be in Boston. It’s like a peaceful heaven in the middle of this huge city. The trees and flowers are splendid. You can walk for hours, have a picnic or listen to artist playing. But my favorite way to enjoy the scenery is definitely by taking the Swan Boat ride. A 4$ ride in a large peddle driven boat that circles a pond in the middle of the park. Best 4$ EVER spent, make that 8$, I’ve ridden it twice now!

3- Food: If you know me, well you know that I would travel far just to try amazing food, and Boston never fails to meet my expectations when it comes to food. Some of our favs: Maggiano’s, our favorite restaurant in the city. You have to get the mozzarella sticks and the crème brûlée AND the gnocchi’s. Basically, just get everything on the menu and you won’t be disappointed! Also, a mention to Starbucks, which you can find every 100 steps from everywhere you are, including from my hotel room! We’ve also had a really great time and food at Cheers. You should add it to your list, just for nostalgia! We’ve been to Boston so many times and so many people recommended different places, but we just love our Maggiano’s and Cheesecake Factory so much that it is very difficult to try new things. Next time thought, we’ll do it. I am making myself a promise that we’ll do it!

4- Trolley Tours: We did our first trolley tour of Boston this year (for less than 20$ per person on Groupon) and I couldn’t recommend it more. This was sooo awesome! We ventured to places we had never visited and we loved it. The trolley drivers are the best tour guides, as they know so much about the history of the city and love to share fun and quirky personnel stories. Brian’s favorite quote was ‘’so here’s the only pub in America where you can actually enjoy a cold Sam Adams in front of a cold Sam Adams’’. Yeah, there’s like a cemetery on the other side of the road and that’s where Sam Adam was buried. I guess it was funnier with the Boston accent! So here’s the link of the trolley, you should try it. Our favorite stops were definitely the USS Constitution, a War of 1812 navy ship which looks like the Black Pearl as well as the Boston Common.

5- Salem: I know Salem isn’t Boston per say, BUT I have to include it in my list. What’s not to love for a Halloween addict like me? Magic, mysteries, century old cemetery and so much more. If I have one recommendation, visit during the month of October. You will be blown away. Have a coffee and a sweet treat at Gulu-Gulu Café, lunch at Boston Burger Company (in Salem) for a crazy delicious burger and drinks and diner at Howling Wolf Taqueria. Amazing margaritas and guac! You won’t be sorry but you may get tipsy if you drink 4 margs in an hour like Brian did! So much to do during the month of October, check online when you’re planning your road trip. We once went in early October during the Food Truck Festival –hello awesome– and we all loved it!

6- Harvard Square: My husband probably wish that our boys will attend Harvard University for his own selfish reason of being close to the Sox. I, on the other hand, only want to enjoy Harvard Square without the tuition fees! Best thing to do, get yourself a cup of coffee and so some people watch! Another fav from my husband, play a game of chess in the park. Also, this year, we found the cutest gift and flower shop, Petali, with a Harry Potter theme. So yep, I fell in love and crossed the street without even looking if there were cars coming the moment I saw it. They even gift wrapped our purchase for the boys in the cutest HP style. You now have my undying love! I just want to go back and buy the Luna sunglasses and the wrapped owl. Maybe next year!!! Also, Harvard students are offering tours, which we never did but look fun, so we may try this next time we’re around.

7- Quincy Market: A great place to try out a variety of food, snacks and drinks. Hello Magnolia Bakery, I love you too! My niece Noemie and I left Brian and Jojo on a terrace where they serve margs and went on a shopping spree. There are so many cute one of a kind shops as well as many top brand stores all together. Wish we hadn’t had plans later that day so I could catch the outdoor movie (it was Mamma Mia!) that Quincy Market was hosting. Once again, check their website prior to visiting. You never know what’s happening at Quincy. From there, you can do the Freedom Trail, walk to the Boston Aquarium or play in the city splash pad like Logan did last year!

8- New England Aquarium: We brought the boys last year and we were in awe. Huge and interesting exhibits, fun layouts with hands-on zones and outdoors shows/learning experiences. Our favorite was the rays’ exhibit for sure. I do recommend you buy your tickets in advance and hit the aquarium first time in the morning as it gets crowded really fast and the line-ups gets super long. And then have lunch by the harbor where the view is stunning. There’s also a whale watching tour available on site. Would totally do this if I weren’t scared shitless of whales (one of my secret shame from the first time I watched Free Willy!)

9-Bike Ride: During one of our first trip to Boston, we parked our car far from Fenway Park, visited downtown a bit, and then decided on a whim to hitch a ride from a bike carriage to get to the ball park. We had so much fun and laughed like (and probably looked like) two idiots… although we thought we were going to die before we’d get there, going through traffic and in between cars. Definitely something fun and different to visit the city. You also need to try this in NYC – it so much fun but careful as you may have a heart attack!

Oh Boston, we love you. So much things do to, yet we always seems to go back and hit our favourite spots. Next time, my plan is to catch a game, eat good food and make a day trip to Cape Cod! If you haven’t already, you really do need to add Boston as one of your next destinations. The possibilities are endless and so is the fun! Boston, you’ve been awesome to us, and you never disappoint, so I guess we’ll see you soon… and just like they say in the song at Fenway, ‘’Oh, Boston, you’re my home’’!

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kingston and a one man show

After spending 2 beautiful days in PEC, we decided to add another destination to our short but awesome Ontario road trip: Kingston. I like to think that I’ve travelled a bit, yet, I had never visited Kingston before, which is like two hours away from home. Brian had gone there once for work before and he loved it, so we decided to go.

We had spent the first few days of our trip just the four of us, but my Mom and Frank were joining us for this leg of the trip. Now that we were 6, we decided to try an Airbnb instead of two hotel rooms. We went back and forth trying to figure out where to stay, and man oh man did I made the right choice. I’m so glad we decided to go with my pick! Hello AMAZING!

We arrived in Kingston around lunch time and decided to have lunch on the terrace at The Kingston Brewing Company. With a view on the water, delicious homemade food, craft beers and drinks, we had the perfect start to our time in Kingston. After lunch we decided to simply walk around and explore, which included sitting by the water while Logan was running around trying to scare the seagulls. We booked a trolley tour for the next day and then walked to our home away from home. I call this home because I was sooo pretending that I lived there! A 175 years old, 3 storey stone house, full of character, with unique features which are just too crazy amazing to explain. We took a few pictures but they really don’t do the house any justice. If you’re ever in the Kingston region and you need a place to stay… the Captain Burn’s house is definitely where you want to go!

The boys needed to blow some steam before diner so we took them to the Mini-Golf and Go-Kart track. Of course, the child sitting with me lost the race which then turned into a meltdown, but we still managed to have a blast! 

Diner at Olivea was simply perfect. All of our pasta dishes were AMAZING, and the warm bread was delish! We once again had a table on the terrace, and I just love that!

One of the best asset of our Airbnb house was the location. Five minute walk from the lake and the busiest streets, which mean we didn’t even needed to use the car, we just walked everywhere we wanted to go. When we weren’t walking, it’s because we were on the Trolley tour! We visited many Canadian landmarks and learned so much, I definitely recommend it if you are visiting Kingston. I honestly feel like it’s the best way to learn about the history of a city. The trolley brings you to all the major and not so major parts of the city while the drivers share personal stories about it.

We then had lunch at Chez Piggy, which was the boys’ decision simply cause they thought the name and the pig on the sign was funny. Well they made a smart choice as we sat on one of the coolest patio in town, they had Wi-Fi and some Beau’s IPA, something for all of the boys in my life. Our server was great and the food was good, so I would totally recommend having drinks and snacks there if you can snatch a table outside. 

As part of our hop on hop off, we visited Fort Henry but didn’t pay for the real tour of the fort, instead we simply walked around and enjoyed one of the best views of the city. I find that the boys are still a bit young to understand or care about why this place was built and what it represents. They do understand a lot of English (thanks to You Tube), but listening about our history was a bit of a challenge for them. I would like to take them back to Kingston once they understand a bit more about our heritage.

One thing you DO have to do in Kingston is to SHOP! Princess Street and the surrounding streets are simply amazing! We loved to wander through the streets and go from one store to the other. I’m in love with all the one of a kind shops and boutiques. My fav has to be Midori, a Japanese store with all kind of unique stuff, ranging from Hello Kitty to Pokémon. I could have stayed there for hours!

So on our second night while we were having diner on the rooftop terrace of Jack Astor’s, Brian was scrolling through is Instagram and then he just looked at me and yelled “Rory Taillon is in Kingston, TONIGHT”. So let me tell you about Rory Taillon. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know we visit Beau’s Oktoberfest every year religiously. At Oktoberfest we usually just walk around all day, drink beer, and eat food, without any agenda, except for the Rory Taillon’s gig, which is the thing he can’t miss during the weekend. I’m not kidding, he’s like a real groupie for this guy. And he’s been after me to go to a show forever!

So when he found out about the show happening that night, it was a no brainer, and he told us that we all had to go. The show was at Mussikki Café, which was like 70 meters away from where we were having diner. So we made our way through this tiny bar that opens up on like the best courtyard ever, with a huge tree, hanging lights everywhere, mix matched tables and Rory Taillon in the middle. My husband was star struck!!! The show was about to start but he still managed to buy his vinyl record and chat with him for a minute. My mom and Frank stayed for a little while but then left to bring the boys home while we stayed and watched the show. I have to agree with him, it was an amazing experience. His voice is really something and we both loved our evening. It was the perfect ending to our getaway.

So our time in PEC and Kingston was coming to an end, but with so many good memories. So many things about our trip surprised us. I knew we would have a good time, after all, every vacation is awesome, but I never thought I would enjoy this one so much! Of course I wish we would travel to Europe and to some far away destinations, but for now, in this season of life, we decided that we were gonna stay close to home, and we were so lucky to find some really great places that we now love.

Not sure where our next adventure will be (well, we did road tripped to Boston the following week!), but I know that everywhere we go, we keep on finding new amazing things to do, which is the best. Well that, and also spending time together. See you later Kingston!

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picton and the power of pink

If you ask me where I want to go next, I will immediately say Disney. If Disney isn’t an option, well I have a long list of other places I want to visit, and until not long ago, Picton was not on it. Honestly, I had never really imagined I would want to go to Picton one day. Like I didn’t really knew much about it and had not really paid any attention to that part of our province before… well that completely changed the day I saw those pretty pink doors! You can call it the power of pink. Yep, pink freakin doors on what is now the cutest motel I’ve ever stayed at! I stumbled upon these now famous doors in late 2017, and ever since, I’ve been obsessed about visiting The June Motel in Picton. Which I just did!

So one night earlier in July, with absolutely no summer vacation plan ahead, and with all of my friends literally traveling either across the world or across Canada, I was kind of bummed about my summer so far. So right before going to bed, I begged Brian that we should really GO on a road trip to The June Motel in Picton. He didn’t really know anything about Picton other than The June Motel since I had been talking about it for over a year now. Well let’s just say that he wasn’t too hard to convince once he had Googled what to do in Picton and saw all the vineyards in the area! So by midnight, he had booked us a room at The June Motel and we finally had a destination… well three destinations I should say, since he actually bargained a stop in Kingston on our way back and then a road trip to Boston to go see his beloved Red Sox the following week. But guess what, no problem my friend, ANYTHING you want as long as you bring me in front of those pretty pink doors so I can take a selfie!!!

Now, all I had to do was to find places to visit, where to eat, things to do and plan all the pictures I was about to take! We were bringing the boys with us, so it wasn’t only going to be a grown up trip to wineries and breweries, as we had to find things to do for them as well. Well that ended up not being a problem at all while visiting wineries and breweries, you’ll see why later on.

We were going to stay 2 nights at The June, and my excitement was over the roof! So we left on our road trip on Monday morning, with a latte in one hand and my camera in the other. Prince Edward County is a short 2 hours and 45 minutes’ drive from home, or a bit longer if you’re like my husband and always insist on taking the back roads. So after a short discussion, which I lost, we ended up on the scenic route between Gananoque and PEC. Even I have to admit that this was the right thing to do, cause for about half an hour more we got to enjoy the beautiful view alongside the St-Lawrence. We even took a ferry from the mainland to PEC, which was the best, especially for the boys – for the three boys I mean.

Since we made it there around lunch time and check-in was still a few hours away, we decided to hit the Parson’s Brewery first. Brian had heard about it from friends and colleagues, and wow, what a great way to start our PEC tour. From the moment we arrived we knew we were going to love the place. They have such a great spot and landscape for a brewery; AND they have entertainment for the kids. I have to admit that going to PEC with kids was a bit intimidating. My boys are usually pretty well behave when they are entertained, and when they are not entertained, well we always have the iPad ready to keep them busy. In PEC, while visiting a winery or brewery or distillery, they weren’t even interested in the iPad as they would find something fun to do everywhere we’d go. At Parsons, the first thing they did was to ask for their Polaroid to take pictures. Then, we got a great table on the outside patio. Well, all of their tables and sitting areas are pretty amazing. The boys ran around the property for hours, playing ping-pong, bocce ball, horseshoes, while spending most of their time climbing on the wooden play structure with the other kids there. They only came to us when they were thirsty from running around, and then they were off again to the play structure. As for us, we enjoyed our food and drinks and cheered to our two week vacation together. Brian had a flight of beers and a charcuterie board that was delicious. I had a lovely Hibiscus Mocktail and some fresh guacamole and chips. Perfect start to our journey! The boys made some friends and didn’t want to leave, which usually means they had the best of time. We were all very happy that our vacay started at Parson’s Brewery.

Then we stopped a small winery on our way back, Black Prince. We had fun walking around, visiting the barn and watching the outdoor pizza oven (I so want one in my backyard!) and took some more pictures while Brian had a few tastings. Then, it was finally time to head out to the main purpose of our visit, our pink-door-motel!

LOVE!!! It’s the only way I can explain how I felt when we arrived! The boys were so excited for me and the pink doors! They knew this was for me and they were so happy about it. They have the cutest lobby ever where we were greeted with Rosé by the friendliest staff. After Brian had finished his and mine Rosé glasses, we finally got our retro room key and on our way we were to room 6! We’ve stayed in really nice hotels before, and I kind of feel stupid saying this, but I don’t remember being this excited about opening the door of a hotel room before. So I opened the door and our room was A M A Z I N G! We were in love with it the moment we stepped in. The boys thought it was the cutest room ever and I had to agree. So fun, fresh and girly, yet, my 3 men loved everything about it.

Brian unpacked while I was busy taking pictures of everything! And I mean everything, from the wallpaper, to the cute note from the cleaning ladies, the pink bathroom, the mini fridge, the beds, the pillows, and of course a million shots of our pink door! Instagram dream location alert!!!

Once we had settled in our room, we decided to go visit the Picton village, which is about 3 minutes away. You can even rent, free of charge, gorgeous bikes from The June, but since we had the boys with us, we couldn’t use them during our stay. Picton is a small and cute town, with a perfect main street just like I love it, where you’ll find an old movie theater, hip coffee shops, a book store, some other one of a kind stores and so much more. The vibe is mellow, with nobody in a rush, where everyone seems to be having a great time. We were starving and decided to have dinner at The Vic Café, a modern and colourful diner restaurant. We had a huge booth with colourful pillows, to-draw placemats as well as a huge bright window to do some people watching! The boys even showed us a card game they have learned at school that we now can’t stop playing. I got the burger and it was sooooo good! Brian got the butter chicken which seemed delicious, while the boys had… PANCAKES! They thought it was the best thing ever to have breakfast for dinner. Logan’s new thing is to say ‘I know you’re going to say no, but I would like to…’ when asking for something. So let’s say they were both really impressed with me when I said yes to pancakes for dinner. Now they want to do this at home, we’ll see about that! I really recommend The Vic Café if you visit Picton. They also have a great patio, but it was cloudy and a bit cold on our first day so we opted for indoors. Next time we will definitely try the patio.

Back at The June, it was Movie Monday. They set up a large screen on the patio where you can watch some old time 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s movies by the fire with a glass of Rosé, craft beer, popcorn, and of course S’MORES! Unfortunately for us, the movie wasn’t really kid friendly so we parked the boys in the lobby with their iPads while we watched the movie outside – Mom, don’t panic, we weren’t even 20 feet away and we could actually talk to them through the screened door! I had to cut my Movie Monday short because Logan was coughing a lot and I knew it was now time to put them both to bed, so I will never know how Dazed and Confused ends. At least I now know where Matthew McConaughey’ alright, alright, alright quote comes from, which was definitely the best part of the movie.

Next morning we woke up bright and early and got ready for the beach. We got some delicious lattes’ from Miss Lily’s Cafe and then we made the short drive to Sandbanks. The boys decided that we would be going to The Dunes Beach, because there’s a Mario Bros level in French called something like the dunes… so yep, we’re now visiting places because of Mario Bros (that’s life with boys). We had been told that the water was still high and it was, which made getting to the dunes a bit tricky but oh so awesome! We were almost alone when we got there so we scored a great spot. We had fun building a pool for the fishies that we catched, played a bit of football and had an amazing time swimming. All of us except Brian who HATES the beach and the sand. But we did win him over after a little while and I believe he actually had a great time. After a few hours at the beach, we decided to pack up and start visiting some wineries.

We were starving so we decided to head out to Norman Hardie Winery and Vineyard for some wooden oven pizza and some wine tasting. The property was amazing and so was the pizza. The boys played on a trampoline and Brian had a few tastings while I enjoyed the scenery. After that, we visited Casa Dea’s Winery, which was right in front. So Brian enjoyed another wine tasting while I sat and relaxed watching the boys having a great time playing chess on a large outdoor set.

We then visited PEC Lavender. I still haven’t visited my beloved Maison Lavande this year so I was super stoked to get the chance to visit a lavender farm. It smelled heavenly. We were almost alone in the fields and it was just the best. The boys had fun running and playing hide and seek across the lavender field while we enjoyed some Lavender Gelato on the Adirondack chairs. It was great to just sit and relax a bit after such a jam packed day. I would definitely recommend everyone to stop at PEC Lavender in between two wineries if you go to PEC.

Not too far away was Closson Chase Winery, my favorite winery of our tour – and I say this basically due to the gorgeous purple barn on site, as I didn’t tasted a single drop of wine on our trip. I also loved their outside patio area and the presentation of the wine tasting, while Brian really liked both of their Chardonnay. I truly recommend a visit there right after you’ve been to PEC Lavender. By then, the boys were getting a little tired and luckily for them there were some hammock style swings close to the outdoor patio where we were. They spent the entire time there in the hammock and they loved it. I keep on mentioning what the boys did at each of our stops because I know some of you might hesitate to bring your kids to PEC, as it may seems more like an adult style destination, but throughout our trip we felt that our kids were welcomed everywhere we went, and we know they had a great time following us, because as I said earlier, they didn’t asked for the iPad once! So don’t hesitate, book your PEC trip and bring the kids with you!

We had kept the Kinsip House of Fine Spirits for last. Brian’s expectations were like really high for this place. When we got there he seemed to be as excited about Kinsip as he is every time we visit his beloved Beau’s Brewery. So he did multiple tastings while chatting with the friendly staff at the outside tasting bar. Apparently people have to go through a long line-up during the weekends to get to the tasting bar, but it was Tuesday afternoon, and we basically had the place to ourselves. So Brian stayed at the bar, talking to the staff member for like an hour, tasting what seems to be all of their fine spirits, then bought some whisky as well as a t-shirt, which means that Kinsip did not disappoint and truly met all of his expectations. Like, as soon as he came back with a t-shirt, I knew it, cause all he usually wears are his Beau’s tee, so for him to get a t-shirt there, I knew he was totally impressed with the place! The staff was so friendly and very interesting to listen to. I don’t drink but I love their bottles. They definitely have the best bottle designs. I also loved the feel of the place, while Brian loved their fine spirits. You absolutely have to visit Kinsip, that’s all I have to say. So I spent most of my time enjoying the patio, watching the kids and the loose chickens running around the farm. Then I had the best BBQ plate ever! Guess what, I was getting a little hungry, and lucky me, right there in Kinsip’s garden you’ll find Big Mike’s BBQ Smokehouse, which is to die for! No fine spirits for me but definitely the best beef brisket in town. All that while the boys made some new friends and built some sort of fort in the wooden area. They were running back and forth to grab some pieces of meat and then back to the fort! Kinsip was our favorite and the best way to end this wonderful afternoon.

We ended our day with dinner at The County Canteen, and it was soooo good! Probably the best mussels we ever had. We had a great spot on the patio, watching all the tourist walk around the Main Street. But we were all tired from our day that we decided to head back to The June for an early night. We missed Rosé O’Clock but we still had drinks in the lobby and on the patio, while the boys were playing nearby.

Our time at The June was coming to an end, but we still managed to enjoy our last evening there by playing a few games of cards before it was time to call it a night! Next morning we took like what seemed to be a few hundreds more pictures and then packed up our car to get ready to leave for our next stop of our road trip. Liam and I took one last picture in front of the lobby before it was time to hand back our number 6 retro key with a heavy heart. Leaving a place where you share such awesome memories is always hard for our emotional crew, and this time was no different. 

We had the best time at The June and I can’t wait to visit you again, hopefully next time with my girlfriends! So June, this is not a goodbye… this is a see you soon!

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disney’s epcot

Back when I first started to plan our 2019 Walt Disney World family trip, I wasn’t sure if we would be visiting Epcot. We were going to be in Orlando only for a week and the original plan was to visit three of the four parks, leaving Epcot out. Then, while looking out for some online deals, I found out about the Canadian resident special, where you buy tickets for 3 parks and get a 4th one for free… which pretty much settled the deal for me! So just like that we were going to Epcot as well which made me very happy! 

I won’t lie, it’s never been my favorite park. The rides aren’t up my alley, and I always felt, when compared to the other parks, that it was lacking a little bit of magic. But when I started to look for what not to miss at that park, now that we were going, I realized that we were visiting during the Garden and Flower Festival, which got me quite excited about our day around the world at Epcot!

We had a few ups and downs during this visit at Epcot but I’m still super glad we closed the loop on the Disney Parks and visited all four during our trip.

It was our third straight days of hitting the parks but we still managed to get to Epcot pretty early. It was our last Disney Park as well as our last day in Orlando, so even if we were all tired, we were all very happy to be there. First, I really want to tell you all about what happened while going through the security gate in the morning. So you know, before entering any park, you have to open all the bags and basically tear apart your stroller… well, while I was re-packing the first back pack, the security guard asked me if I had visited Animal Kingdom the day before. So I said ‘’yes, I did’’… and he told me that he was at Animal Kingdom the day before and could clearly remember going through my purse at the security line! I burst laughing, as I couldn’t believe it; of all the purses in Disney, this guy really had a thing for my awesome 20$ purse from Wish! Here’s a link from my mother’s day gift list if you ever want one: WISH STRAW PURSE

As soon as we made it into the park, my first impression was simply WOW! The scenery from the freshly planted flowers and garden everywhere was gorgeous. The first flower bed was huge and filled with butterfly topiaries, perfect for some beautiful pictures as it was right under the Epcot sphere.

A few minutes into the park, we decided to split right away to let Brian’s crew to go for some rides while I went with the boys to visit Baymax, Joy and Sadness, Goofy, as well as Mickey and Minnie. I love meet and greet, I feel like we should have done more, but some of these lines are pretty long, so we only did the ones the boys really wanted to do. I love when the characters take a moment to chat a little and have fun with the kids, but at the same time, I get it, you know, the wait time is already brutal, so if they’d spend one more minute per kid, it wouldn’t end!

It was now time for my first ride of the day, and Logan and I were in heaven when we rode The Seas with Nemo and Friends. This ride is so cute and when you walk out you are greeted with huge aquariums. We loved it.

All day long, everywhere we’d go, we were surrounded by beautiful garden and flower beds. It was gorgeous. Also, Epcot has new play/rest areas where kids can play and run safely while the parents may sit for a bit. We visited two of them and were absolutely over the moon for them. Days are long at the park and we’re always telling them to hold hands, stay close, sit here, stand there, be quiet, wait in line… but when they were playing in these areas, they were free from all the rules, and they ran, and climbed, and laughed and had so much fun playing with each other. These areas were filled with veggies, fruits, herbs, plants and lots and lots of flowers, with comfy chairs all around for parents to sit and relax. I honestly think it was the best hour I spent at Epcot that day, relaxing while the boys were having fun with all of the other kids. What a great idea. ‘’All that’s missing is a margarita bar’’ Brian said when he joined us there for a few minutes!

We started our tour around-the-world while being very hungry, which made things a bit more complicated. All of our friends that travelled to Disney in the last few years had told us ‘’leave the kids at the house and go to Epcot alone to do the around-the-world showcase; have a drink at every country and I swear you’ll have the best time ever’’. THAT was not our experience. I’m sure it’s great when you do this as adults, grabbing a bite here and there with a few drinks along the way, but the reality is that even though there’s a lot to eat, picky little eaters aren’t that impressed with fancy seafood or raw meat dishes. Many of our friends told us that Epcot was their fav, but it isn’t my fav, far from it. I wish Brian would bring me back there right now, ‘as adults’, so it would become my fav as well!!! But he told me I wasn’t allowed to ask about Disney for at least another 2 years (cause he’s so boring sometime) *eyes rolling*

I/me and the kids actually had a meltdown in England as we were getting hungry and it was getting pretty hot outside. What’s funny is that I/me and not the kid actually had a similar meltdown at the exact same spot five years ago. Brian was very happy to remind me of it! Maybe that’s why I’m not allowed to talk about Disney for another 2 years!

So right there we split to allow everyone to have exactly what they wanted to have for lunch. To be fair, I have to say that the park is so much better than I remembered from 5 years ago, but I think it still misses something like a McDonald somewhere between Canada and the USA, so my kids could eat chicken nuggets and be full and happy like I was after my fancy cheese plate with a demi-baguette and a butter croissant in France!

After lunch, we regrouped and visited the rest of the showcases, Jojo met Snow White, her favorite Disney princess, the boys met Ana and Elsa, Brian and friends found a margarita bar in Mexico, where we met with Donald and took some funny pictures.

One of my favorite part of Epcot is definitely Norway. Frozen was the boys’ favorite movie from age 2 to 4, but not so much anymore. Yet, let me tell you that they were very excited when we met Ana and Elsa… and not so much because we were actually meeting them, but because Ana started to talk to them in French, which made their day! Also, the new Frozen ride is the best. So glad we had Fast Passes for it, because the 2-hour wait time would have probably made it not my favorite part of the park! They apparently modernised an older ride and adapted it into Frozen, and I have to say they did an awesome job at it. I never rode the previous ride before, so I had no clue what to expect, but it was as beautiful as it was exciting and thrilling! 

Then, we walked towards Mexico where there was a Mariachi band playing the Coco soundtrack. I couldn’t stop listening to them. And then Miguel came out and all I could do was scream to the boys that Miguel was here. I was wayyyyy more into it than they were, even though they truly LOVE the Coco movie. I have to say that I might have cried a little while watching the Coco mariachi playing band. Logan had been wanting to see ‘Donald Mexico’ all day, as he called him. We were super lucky to meet him as we found him while there was almost no one in line. Donald was so much fun. He even made a few jokes with the boys. Logan was obsessed. The pictures of Donald Mexico are his favorites of the entire trip. By then it was very hot outside, but luckily, Mexico has the best gazebo by the water! So we found some great seats, ordered some nachos and guac, beers and margs and sat in the shades for a little while. It was nice to sit down, and enjoy some food by the water and just relax a little. Definitely one of the best spot in Epcot!

We then split again while I visited Ralph and Vaneloppe, played some more in the kid’s area and rode The Land, an interesting ride about our planet Earth, while Brian went and did the Test Track and a few other rides.

Our last Fast Pass was for Soaring, which was one of everyone’s favorite ride 5 years ago in Orlando as well as 2 years ago in California. The Fast Pass was not for another hour though, so Brian and his sister decided to walk back across the lake to Italy in order to place some reservations at the Via Napoli Pizzeria. Once they arrived, the maître d’hôtel didn’t take their reservation since the 12 of us weren’t there with him ready to eat. The wait time was well over 90 minutes and we would have all made it there easily in time… but no, it didn’t work, no reservations for us that evening. It was our favorite restaurant the last time we went to Disney World and I really wanted to eat there again. But not this time! So they walked back to us, got a margarita on the way, told us about the reservation, which actually got me pretty bummed. We then did Soaring, and while everyone kept on talking about how they remembered it from last time, I couldn’t really get it as this was going to be my first time. I kind of knew what I was getting into, and was a bit worried as I often get afraid of heights, but I have to say that I really enjoyed it. Sadly, Soaring was our last ride of the trip. (Insert tears ride here)

After we did Soaring, I was still mad (I was pissed!!!) that our diner plans had fell apart, I was sad that we were done with the rides, I was hungry, we still had nowhere to go for dinner, and the fireworks were about to start in less than an hour. I can guarantee you that this is usually a great combination for another adult meltdown at the park! But I did held it together and we found this place called The Umbrella, where they serve chicken fingers and burgers. Definitely not the amazing and memorable meal we had planned to have on our last day, but… well, I guess it was actually somewhat memorable as we will probably never forget the fast-food we had at The Umbrella on our last day! Oh well, I was about to realize that there are worst thing in life than this… like not getting a good spot for fireworks. Yep… we had all the time in the world to find a good spot, but no, we were stuck behind some cedar trees and a store. We could see the higher ones, just not what was happening below. I still managed to cry, and Logan too. He was a hot mess by the end; tired and emotional… just like me.

After the last firework disappeared in the sky, that’s when it hit me. It was truly time to say goodbye. Definitely my least favorite moment at Disney. It was hard. With more tears. More emotions. More I want to stay. More when are we coming back. More love from watching the boys being filled with all the Disney magic, but also more sadness knowing this will never be the same as they are growing up so fast. More love than sadness though, for sure. I am so happy we visited Epcot.

So we left the park with our hearts full. What an amazing trip. And like the Genie says: “Today’s special moments are tomorrow’s memories.” And we are definitely left with a lots of those – unforgettable memories.

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disney’s animal kingdom

After a break from all the Disney magic on Tuesday, Wednesday was the day we were visiting Animal Kingdom, my favorite park during our last family trip and still my favorite one this time around. It’s kind of weird for me to admit that Magic Kingdom is not my favorite park anymore, as it definitely was (and it was by far!!!) when I was a kid. The castle still makes me cry, from the moment I see it walking in in the morning to the moment I see it walking out at night, but Animal Kingdom has something different to offer, not sure if it’s the surroundings, the nature, the animals, or the overall vibe, but it’s simply the best.

Since we didn’t have any Fast Passes booked that morning, we decided not to rush out the door and had planned to get to the park a little later, at about 9:30 rather than our usual 8:30 from the first two parks. Big mistake!!! First, we had to wait 20 minutes in the parking lot before we could get on one of the trams that gets you to the park. Then, after we made it to the park, the line went on forever to get inside. To make matters worse, the waiting time for Avatar’s Flight of Passage, the ride everyone most wanted to do, was already at 195 minutes when we got there. Well, as much as I wanted to do it, there’s no way I was gonna wait over 3 hours when I just got to the park with so many things I want to do and see. Oh, and with two kids in tow, I wasn’t willing to risk my sanity that early in the morning for a ride! But my father-in-law did! More on that later!

The first ride we did after splitting up was It’s Tough to Be a Bug, which is a fun an entertaining 3D show based on the Bug’s Life movie. We all loved the show, as well as the waiting line to get there, which brings you around, beside, through and under the Tree of Life. I have to say that I am in awe for the Tree of Life, as it’s as beautiful as it gets. Looking at it simply makes me happy, and makes me want to be a better person, and live better, and do greater things, does that make any sense? So as much as I love it, someone loves it even more than I do. If I’m in awe for it, Brian is like next level in awe for it. Most of the pictures or selfies you’ll see from the two of us come from me saying something like ‘hey, let’s take a selfie’. But this time around, he’s the one who asked me ‘hey, can we take a selfie here’. And I’m glad he did, as I think this ended up being one of our best pictures of the entire trip.

After that, while my father-in-law was still not even close to being halfway through the Avatar waiting line, we split up even more, with half of us going on one side for Primeval Whirl and Expedition Everest, and the other half going towards Triceratop Spin (a Dumbo-like ride) and the Boneyard (yeah, I was part of that half!). We  ended up spending a long time in the Boneyard, letting the kids run wild. They could have easily stayed there all day long. We actually came back later on since this was all they would talk about. It’s the perfect spot to sit and rest, while letting them have fun running, climbing or going down slides.

So far the day was simply perfect, with some of the best weather to visit a park; a beautiful day, something like 25 degrees Celsius, sunny, with no clouds in sight, but not too hot either. By about 1:30pm, we were starting to get hungry, so we had a quick lunch at Flame Tree BBQ and then met up with Brian’s crew to get ready for our Kilimanjaro Safari, as we all had fast passes for that ride. Like I said earlier in the post, my father-in-law had decided to do the Avatar ride at about 10:30am, and at 2:45pm we finally heard back from him when he texted us that he was next in line. So what was supposed to be a 195 minutes wait actually ended being a 260 minutes wait. Yep, they waited over 4 hours for the ride. They explained that once it was almost their turn, after like 3 hours, something happened, like the ride broke, and then they had to wait almost another hour before they would start it up again. BUT, at least, they got in and then both said it was the best ride ever! They were really impressed by it and told us we should definitely come back later that day to try it, as it was totally worth the wait. Well, I’ll tell you right away that we ended up not doing it later on as the wait time was still over 3 hours when we came back, which is way too long of a wait for kids like mine; especially when they were asking every 15 minutes about the Boneyard where there was actually no waiting line. I would have had a tough time trying to explain that one for 3 hours. Next time for sure, though! 

By mid-afternoon, it was time for my favorite ride of the park, the Kilimanjaro Safari. You know you are an over enthusiastic Disney fan when you’d prefer to do the ride in loop rather than going for the real thing in Africa! This ride is simply the best. Actually, thinking about it, it almost makes me want to plan a trip to Africa just to enjoy the sceneries and watch the animals a little bit longer. I truly wish it would have lasted a longer, as it just went by so quickly. I just googled the length of the safari, and it’s actually 22 minutes, which is longer than I thought. We saw so many animals, spotting a few special or rare ones I think. Liam was ecstatic when he finally saw some crocodiles, as he had been looking for one everywhere we’d go ever since we made it to Orlando. Well, of course he was looking, as Brian had told him that we very may see one in Florida, maybe even in our backyard pool. Way to go Brian! So there was like at least ten of them, and you could see that this was too much joy for Liam, telling me ‘‘the crocodiles, there… mommy, look, the crocodiles, take a picture, please, take one… have you taken a picture?’’ with his little over-excited voice. I was so happy for him to finally see a live one. And then, out of nowhere, my 14 years old nephew told us that the ride was fun but that it would be even better if the animals were real. We all looked at each other, wondering if he was kidding, and then all burst out laughing! We were halfway through the ride and all along he thought the animals were fake… we told him they were real, but he still had doubts, that is until we got stuck there for a few minutes as 2 rhinos were blocking the path. They were so close to us we could have probably touched them (apparently it would have been a very bad idea) if we would have wanted! Writing this… I’m bawling. Not because the rhinos scared me or anything, but because I just wish I could go back there, at Animal Kingdom, with my boys, and re-live that day all over again.

We then had two more things to do, first was to go to the Asia section of the park to recreate one of my favorite picture ever, and then to make our way into Pandora’s, the new Avatar land, where we had fast passes for the Na’vi River ride. So we got to Asia, got Liam’s picture in front of the same blue door as in 2014, then stopped for some margaritas, and then made our way to Pandora. The first thing you see is that gigantic rock hanging thing from the movie, which is breathtaking. The boys (and Brian) still haven’t seen the movie, so they didn’t really understood what Pandora was all about, but I have to say that it’s simply beautiful, and clearly a must see, whether you’ve seen the movie or not; there’s nothing quite like it. I actually wish we would have had more than one day to explore everything, so that way I would have had plenty of time to spend wander around the park and do Flight of Passage. So we were in Pandora to ride the Na’vi River, which is an It’s a Small World type of ride, with colours that are simply out of this world. The blend of the flowers, the music, the neon colours everywhere and the kind of jellyfish floating around us was wonderful.  

2014
2019

After we were done with the Na’vi River, we had used all of our Fast Passes for the day, done all the rides we wanted to do (except the other Avatar ride), seen the Nemo musical, ate too much Mickey shaped ice-cream bars and popcorn, they had drank enough margaritas to keep themselves hydrated, so we decided to call it a day. A decision I now fully regret! For one, I forgot to buy my Starbucks park mug. I can’t believe I forgot about it. I got one from each park except Animal Kingdom, my favorite one. Seriously, I was so pissed about it when I realized I had actually forgotten to buy it, I cried. Second, I’m a rope drop to fireworks kinda gal and we didn’t even get to watch the night show. And finally, I definitely didn’t take enough pictures (for my taste) on that day.

But you know what, I had a great time at Animal Kingdom, and at the end of the day, being with our family on this trip was the very best. It’s not about where you go or what you do (or the mugs you buy!), but it’s about who you share these moments with. And spending some time with my mom was the best. Animal Kingdom was her favorite too and for the boys to spend so much time with her, throughout the day and the entire week, it was just awesome.

So, as soon as I’m done telling you about our days at the different parks we visited (next will be Epcot), I will be posting a list of all the things you absolutely have to do at Disney, with our favorite rides, what to skip, the best meals we got, the best shows, etc., and guess what will be at the top of the list? Animal Kingdom. If you go to Orlando or Disney, you absolutely have to go to Animal Kingdom. It’s a MUST. And while you’re there, could you PLEASE get me a Starbucks mug?!!!


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disney’s magic kingdom

On our second day, my fav, and obviously everyone’s fav, the day I had longed for over a year, our beautiful Magic Kingdom. The castle, the fireworks, the Dole Whip, Dumbo, Peter Pan, and also, the perfect occasion to finally wear my skirt! Yep, my skirt, which I bought over 3 years ago dreaming of wearing it one day at Magic Kingdom. Well the skirt did not disappoint! And neither did the castle and everything else.

Following a long and hot first day at Hollywood Studio, everyone was very tired, but I still managed to convince them all to wake up super early in the morning for our day at Magic Kingdom. I really wanted to make sure we wouldn’t miss anything. The last two days were catching up on us big time, still, we were out of the door on time and ready to rock this day. I knew it was going to be hot and sunny again, but I hadn’t planned that by 7:30 am the humidity would have already frizzed my just curled hair. So much for the cute pictures I was supposed to take! Oh well… at least I had the perfect skirt on!

We entered the park with 2 things in mind, first, to recreate our group picture just like we did in 2014 in front of the castle, and then to rush to the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train to ride it before the waiting line would be too long. Well, we weren’t the only one with that plan in mind I guess! We made it to the ride but there was already about 2 hours of wait time, so we postponed it and did Peter Pan’s Flight (one of my fav) and It’s a Small World (definitely one of my fav) back to back instead, all that within the first hour of being in the park, not bad, right?

Then it was time for our first treats, FINALLY! So we all had either a Lost Princess cone or a Peter Pan float, except for me, of course, who had to try them both. You know, you got to understand something here, I would have probably just had one like everyone else, but both treats were on my what-to-eat-at-Disney list, and as an almost famous small town blogger, well I felt the need to please my followers and report back on both treats… and now that I have tried them both, well I can honestly say that they are arguably some of the most delicious treats ever. See, isn’t the point of blogging to have an excuse to eat things like Princess Cones and Peter Pan floats? Pretty sure it is.

After that, we split up in half to go ride Dumbo and Space Mountain. I left with my crew while Brian went to Space Mountain with his crew and their fast-passes; his crew being everyone doing the more extreme rides while my crew being the ones who were looking forward to riding Dumbo. Unfortunately for him the ride was “broken”. Fortunately though, they were told they could use their fast-passes in any other ride, so since they only had 10 minutes left to use it, they opted for the closest one and rode Buzz Lightyear… without the boys, which is THE ride they wanted to do at Magic Kingdom!

Meanwhile, we did another one of my fav, DUMBO! Isn’t it the cutest ride of all time? I could spend my day in that ride and never get bored! The colours, the cute elephants, the circus tent, everything about that ride made me happy. Then it was time for some churros, larger than life donuts, and some more popcorn! As I told you in my last post, popcorn was like a meal for Liam in Disney!

After that we rode Under the sea and then finally decided to wait in line for the Mine Train. I am not a big roller-coaster fan, but this ride is adorable, with a few intense corners, but still smooth enough for easily scared kids like mine. Overall, I loved everything about it… except for the 2-hour wait line, I guess. I have to say that now that I have done it, if I had to go back to Magic Kingdom today, I would definitely stay behind and spend that 2 hours exploring more of the park; but we hadn’t done it before, so we really wanted to do it. And we were travelling with one of Snow White’s biggest fan after all!!!

We then grabbed lunch and watched the parade. It was gorgeous, but it kinda seemed shorter than I remembered. Maybe it’s just me and my wish to make moments like this last forever! Then it was time for Big Thunder Railway, which Brian’s crew rode twice in a row since we all had fast-passes booked but the Dumbo crew didn’t really wanted to do it. Then it was time for Splash Mountain, which ended up being one of our favorite moments of the trip. He’s not the type to get adventurous, like he’s usually the complete opposite of it, and don’t ask me why, but when Liam saw the big drop and the water splash it caused, he told me he really wanted to do Splash Mountain. I was sure he would chicken out at some point, but no, he didn’t. And not only he didn’t chickened out, he actually waited in line for over two hours without saying anything about the wait time and the fact that they were not moving as they had to deal with another “broken” ride half way into the line. I actually didn’t do it, as I went back to Logan and my Mom while the others waited it out. I am so happy he did it, as he loved it so much; and the picture tells it all, with is little face, huge grin, 2 little arms up in the air while having the time of his life. MAGIC!

Oh, so while they were waiting in line for Splash Mountain, I had to find something else to blog about or to take pictures of, so I headed out for some Funnel Cake and some more ice cream. So I guess I should officially report back to my followers, before I forget, that these treats were also extremely delicious!!!

Then we did Pirates of the Caribbean and the Magic Carpets. OMG, the Magic Carpets ride is AWESOME. Who knew? I had never done it before, but was simply hilarious! We had an awesome time riding it… like, there’s a camel that spits water on the other riders when you press on the button… I couldn’t have asked for more, it was so much fun, as we laugh and screamed the entire time! Then we had some more Dole Whip and popcorn while we made our way to the Mad Tea Party tea cups ride. I’m not really into the spinning rides, especially after all the treats I have had so far, so we just sat in our cup and enjoyed the smooth ride without the extra spinning.

We then went back for some more pictures in front of the castle before sunset, but I had so many problems with my fancy camera during this trip that our pictures aren’t super nice, or not as nice as I had hoped for, I guess. I know it may sound superficial, but I’m super bummed about it, as I really wanted to take better pictures throughout the trip. I kind of want to cry about it, but between the cam problems, my frizzed hair, the boys’ constant eye-rolling and messing around during picture time, Logan’s tong sticking out everywhere and Liam’s missing front tooth, it wasn’t that easy to get some picture-perfect shots.

It was almost time for the fireworks, but luckily we were able to squeeze a short visit with Mickey and Minnie for some pictures in their 90th anniversary outfits! So cute and so much fun. The boys loved it!

By 8:30 pm, we were all there, in the middle of the street, waiting for the fireworks with a treat in our hands. Honestly, we could have found a better location, but we were all tired, and the consensus was to find a place close to the exit where we’d see most of the show. I was hoping for something similar to what we saw at Disneyland three years ago, where the entire Main Street was part of the show, but it wasn’t. It was still great, but maybe not as spectacular, or as magical. I am wondering if the fact that the boys were not that into it played a part into how much I enjoyed the show, who knows.

I still cried almost the entire time. No surprise there! And at the very end, I felt like I was 10 again, watching Tinker Bell fly down from the castle. I’m not crying; you’re crying!!!

Leaving the castle was emotionally draining. As soon as the last firework blasted, Logan became a mess, crying because we were saying goodbye to the castle. At the same time, I was crying thinking of my kids growing up, and that I will soon have to say goodbye to their magical spirit, and that once it happens, things will never be the same. I mean, I know we’ll be back, but my babies are growing up and I know we will never re-live this trip, or any of our previous Disney trips. And that is the hardest part for me to accept right now. Maybe that’s why I take so many pictures and videos, trying to capture every little thing, moment or feeling.

So many things I didn’t get to do at Magic Kingdom. The purple wall, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger ride, eat a corndog, get the perfect picture in front of the castle and visit the princesses. But still, I have to say that this was a pretty near perfect day in one of the most magical place on earth. Thank you Magic Kingdom for letting me believe and live through all of your fairy-tales and enchanted stories, even at 38 years old. Hope you’ll bring the same joy to my sons as they grow up.

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disney’s hollywood studios


So we just came back from our March-break Disney trip, and since I got way too much things to say, too many pictures to show, and way too much excitement for only one blog post, I’ve decided to do multiple ones, like one for each themed park! For those of you who won’t have the patience to read all of the posts, at least look at the pictures I’m going to share, as I’m sure you’ll see the magic through them all; and if I had to summarize our trip, I guess I could do it with something like ‘’We had, as expected, such a magical time, as we rode our favorite rides, Dumbo, Star Wars, It’s a small world, Peter Pan, Nemo and Toy’s Mania, we ate way too many Mickey Bars and too much popcorn, screamed from the top of our lungs in Tower of Terror, Slinky Dog and Expedition Everest, watched some beautiful parades, shows and fireworks, and even had the chance to hug and kiss Mickey and Minnie dressed in their special 90th Birthday outfit’’, but there’s so much more to it. So for everyone who wants to hear all about it, here’s the part 1 of the longer version of our Magical 2019 Disney World family trip.

So this all started a long long time ago, like probably 35 years ago, when, as a child, I kind of developed a slight obsession with everything Disney. Over the years, this slight obsession became a little more obvious, and now that my boys share this passion with me, I know I can go all out at any time and I’ll always have these two smiling faces beside me, willing to follow me, waiting to see what’s next. Prepping for this trip with them two has been the most pleasant time, and being able to live up to everyone’s expectation was the cherry on top of a fabulous week in Florida.

We left for the airport just before 3am on Friday morning, and beside Liam and Logan, I don’t think anyone else got much sleep! The excitement was at an all-time high, with the messages coming in one after the other in our Disney chat, from like midnight until it was time to leave. We took 3 cars to the airport, arrived early as planned, but then spent way too much time at security, only to board the plane with not even time to grab a coffee. The flight was great, as we were all sitting together, the 12 of us! Yep, 12 of us, which is a small crew compared to our group of 18 from about 5 years ago. We made it to Orlando, got our mega van and SUV we had rented, and then drove away with the windows down while enjoying the warm Florida weather. We left home at about minus 26 Celsius and within a few hours we were enjoying a sunny day and 26 degrees! I’ll take that at any time!

We had a little Target situation to begin with, as I drove our rented SUV to one store while Brian drove the van to another one, about 25 minutes apart… I just want to confirm that I was at the one we had previously agreed on! (NO, I wasn’t!!!). So we all met and did the grocery (at MY Target) and then found our beautiful house in a nice and quiet neighbourhood. Within minutes the rooms had all been figured out and the kids had all jumped in the backyard in-ground pool! What a long day it had been, so while everyone else was swimming, I decided to take a short nap before it was time to head out to the Outback Steakhouse, my father-in-law’s new favorite restaurant.

Although I hadn’t slept much the previous 2 days, I could hardly sleep as I was way too excited to visit Hollywood Studios in the morning. We rushed to the gate and then ran to the new Toy Story Land to ride the Slinky Dog Dash roller-coaster. What a thrill it was!!! I loved it. I was lead to believe that it was a kid’s roller-coaster, but no, it wasn’t… well, let’s just say that it was not one for mine! And maybe too intense for some of the adults as well. My Mom and Brian’s aunt Lulu still hadn’t recovered from the ride hours later while Liam and Logan screamed and cried and hated it the entire way. I actually have a pretty memorable video of Liam from the entire ride that proves it. They hated it but then they both really wanted the Slinky Dog toy, they’re so hard to follow sometimes!

The older kids and some of the adults had some fast-passes for Aerosmith’s Rock N Roller Coaster, so we took a break from the heat and watched the Frozen sing along while they went for their ride. And even though we were all beyond tired of the snow back home, we all got teary eyes when it started to snow at the very end. That’s what the magic of Disney does to you!

After a few more rides, we snacked on our first Mickey Bars and Mickey Ice Cream Sandwiches, bought the Toy Story refillable alien popcorn bucket and had some nachos. Nachos and popcorn are meals, right? Well they definitely were that week.

We then walked back to Toy Story Land for Toy Story Mania! My fav and Liam’s fav at that park for sure! This ride is EVERYTHING! Fun, fast, cute and competitive. Poor Logan, as he got his butt kicked. Nobody’s taking me down! We would have ridden this ride 100 times if they had let us… but man the waiting lines were just brutal. That’s what March Break was for us! Long lines, but the best of times.

Finally, one I am not too proud of, and one I probably lost 2 years of my life riding, Tower of Terror. I have no recollection of the moment prior, but all I can think of is that they either tricked me or forced me into it, cause I remember myself saying ‘’no way, I’m not stupid, I’m not doing it’’, but then I was all buckled up in the ride screaming ‘’WTF!!!’’. So they say that a picture is worth a thousand words… well I look at this one, and all it tells me is that this was my first and last time in that ride. And that picture is actually all I can remember from the ride cause I literally kept my eyes shut the entire time!

It was still early in the day, it was sunny and really hot outside, so we decided to go back to the house for a quick swim and nap and then come back to get diner at the park and catch the Fantasmic show. I just love that show. I could watch it over and over. It’s simply one of the best and most beautiful show ever. We were sitting up close, so we got a little wet, which actually minimized the appearance of tears as I was taking it all in, realizing that our first day was almost over and that this week was going to fly by. To be continued…

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15 favorite things to pack for a trip

Are you heading out on vacation for March Break? Well I know I am! I’m sooo ready for our vacation, it’s not even funny anymore. I swear, a week is way worse than a year! We’ve been planning this Disney trip for a long time, I’ve been looking ahead to this for months and months, and it’s now just around the corner and I simply can’t wait any longer…

The boys have been trying every pair of shorts they own… an unfortunately, they outgrew most of them since last summer; and trying to buy a new summer wardrobe during winter is not that simple. So the last few weeks it’s been mostly shopping, shopping and shopping!

One of my favorite thing about going on a trip is the prepping! You know, making sure we have everything, that we’re not forgetting anything, and that we have things organized in a way that our trip will be even more enjoyable. So I’ve rounded up my 15 favorite things to pack up in my suitcase when we’re going on vacation. Whether it’s Disney, a trip to the beach or a weekend getaway, these items will keep you organized, ready for any situations and so damn proud of yourself to have everything you need for that awesome trip.

Liam wearing his cooling towel; he wouldn’t take it off!

Let’s get started!

1-Ziplocs: Yes, I’m starting my list with Ziplocs. I actually rarely leave the house without one in my purse, so, bringing a box with me during a vacation is a must. I pack up all my skin-care product, tooth paste, shampoo, conditioner, sunscreen, etc. into large Ziplocs, so if something leaks, then I’m covered. The worst thing I could ever imagine when opening up my suitcase would be a major spill on my favorite outfits. I reuse my large Ziplocs every trip, leaving them in my suitcase until our next getaway. The large ones are the best, you can keep some in your backpack and use them for dirty clothes, diapers, or even to keep your fancy camera dry. They’re also great for carrying snacks with you or storing them while you’re on a ride. Or to bring back some Funnel Cake back to the hotel room! I find we waste less food this way when we’re in the parks or at the beach. Ziplocs are ESSENTIAL on vacation. Now you know it!

2-Phone charger: You always need backup. Phones are dying so quickly now and you don’t want to miss out on an important call, or the chance to capture the perfect sunset, or fireworks, or a Mickey Mouse hug! Buy a portable charger, keep it fully charge in your bag and no moments will be missed.

3-Fancy camera: I know you’ve got one, so bring it, that’s why you bought it. It’s sooo easy to just use our phones but honestly, there is a difference. If you’re traveling with a group, maybe alternate the person in charge of taking pictures every day, or just let someone else take the pictures once in a while, at least you’ll be in a few of them!

A stroller ride in the Boston Common.

4-Stroller: So we’re on the verge of leaving for Orlando with our 8 and 6 years old and we ARE bringing 2 strollers. Kids are kids and travelling is hard. A meltdown and so easily avoided if they don’t have to walk when they are tired or too hot. We did California and Vegas with like 45 degrees Celsius heat about 2 years ago and we didn’t get ONE complaint. If you’re doing a theme park, wrap a ribbon or scarf to easily spot your ride. You can even leave it near a ride and pick it up later when you need it. Renting a stroller is expensive, so bring yours or borrow one, because you will need it. Also, you get from point A to B much faster when you’re not waiting for their little legs to catch up!

5-Cooling towel: Going somewhere hot? Well then this is a must! Wet the towel, ring out the water and feel the cooling effect immediately. Great for everyone but especially kids. The coolness will sooth and refresh them or yourself! You may buy these are the pharmacy or Amazon.

6-Shoe Rack: So this one I stole from my friend Vero. You know these plastic shoe racks from the Dollar Store? Buy one, place on the back of the bathroom door in your hotel and place all your personal products. Hair brushes, lotion, toothpaste and brush, your jewelry, etc. The counters are never big enough for all the stuff you bring, so this way, all your stuff is at the same place and in order. I don’t like when housekeeping touches my stuff when cleaning, so this way, she doesn’t have too. Leave in your suitcase once you’re done until your next adventure!

7-Hand sanitizer: OMG this one hurt just writing about it! The worst thing about going to a trip to Disney? The touching of EVERYTHING! Ropes, hands, fences, and the oh-shit bar in the rides… YARK!!! I probably go through a small bottle of Thieves hand sanitizer a day. My boys are already well trained in the hand washing department but a day in the park is no normal day. I can already hear the germs! So yea, buy the sanitizer and shower everyone with it every 20 minutes!

8-Muslin blanket: I don’t care how old your kids are, if they’re tired or irritated, then need a blanket. I love the Aden & Anais muslin blanket. Light and airy, perfect for warm days and cooler night. Can be used to shield the sun at the beach or during nap in the stroller. If nobody wants it, used it as a cover for your bum while you’re waiting for the parade! Roll it up in the bottom of your backpack and it will be there just in case.

9-Water bottles: Don’t bring your fancy one. You’ll be too sad if you forget it somewhere. A plastic one that can be clipped to the backpack or the stroller is all you need. Fill half of it with water the night before and freeze, then fill the rest in the morning and you’ll have cold water throughout the day. One of the best way to make sure you have the best time on your vacation is by staying hydrated. It’s so easy to forget to drink enough water when you’re busy. I always bring a bottle of Pedialyte for the boys to drink in the morning before we start the day. Keeps them refreshed and at least I know that whatever they drink and eat during the day, they have a base that keeps them well hydrated. I should probably do the same!

10-Sharpie: Yep, a sharpie. It’s totally needed for collecting the autograph of your favorite Disney characters! Can also be used in so many other useful occasions.

11-Sunscreen: Wear it, every day, whether you are skiing or relaxing at the beach. Buy it before you leave, sunscreen at your resort or at the theme parks will be double the price!

12-Poncho: Buy a few ponchos at the Dollar Store and store them in the backpack. You’ll hope you won’t have to use them but you’ll be glad you brought some if it does! And paying 10$ US for a poncho is no fun. We used ours for the Kali River Rapids at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Was I ever glad I was wearing mine!!! Unfortunately, a few from our gang were not so lucky! Once you’re done with your ride or once the sun is back, you fold them back up and place them in one of your large Ziplocs you brought.

Logan; always up for a snack!

13-Snacks: You want to keep your kids happy? Keep them full with treats!!! Kidding. With healthy snacks of course. What’s worse than having to deal with a meltdown because someone is hungry? Probably dealing with ME when I’m hungry!!! Bring dry snacks and fruits for when waiting in lines or just walking around. Plus, you can’t ONLY eat junk, so having a few veggies or fruits handy is perfect for the rumbling tummies.

14-Games: What to do for long flights, long waiting lines or long stretches of time when you need the kids to be entertained? GAMES. Uno, Sushi Go and Bingo are just a few of our favorites. Bring out a card games at the restaurant while you’re waiting for your pizza or while waiting to board the plane. Cross-words, books and tablets are great for quiet time, so load up new games on the iPad and buy a few books at the Dollar Store. I’ve found some fun and free Disney themed bingo cards on Pinterest and printed them. We’ll be taking these out and playing while waiting in line. Bring out the sharpies to cross off the ones you get. No mess, no tiny pieces and a Mickey Bar for the winner!

15- Anti Chafe Balm: This last one is not super glamorous but it works and it’s a MUST! I bought mine at the running store and I’ve been using it when it’s super-hot outside or when I know I’ll be walking during a long period of time. Spread a layer between your thighs and underneath your arms and you’ll see. I’m telling you, this will make your Disney adventure truly MAGICAL!

So there you have it, my list of things you absolutely must bring on your next trip! Do you plan on getting away soon? I hope you do. But if you don’t, no worries, just start thinking about what could be next, as this is almost as excited as doing it. I’m always on the lookout for our next adventure. It’s sooo much fun to decide where to go next, to plan ahead, to travel, to explore new places and see new things. Well, planning is all done here, next will be to wake up at 3 am in a few days and go catch our flight. Happy March Break my friends!

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