extra maple syrup please

The sun is out, weather is gorgeous, snow is melting, and the sugar shacks season is right upon us! And I just love this time of the year; you know, when the mild temperature allows me to wear my light jacket outside and to open all of the windows of the house when inside. But also because of maple syrup! I’m actually more of a salty kind of person, but in the spring, bring me all the maple flavoured food you can find, and I’ll try it all. I can’t wait to hit the sugar shack!

So, since I’ve been craving for some of that delicious seasonal sugar shack food, I’ve decided to try – with a twist – a few maple flavoured recipes. And man did I hit the jackpot. I spent a day cooking up a storm to achieve this menu, but you don’t have to do it all in one day. Here’s mylemondroplife’s take on MAPLE! Oh yeah, by the way, may I present you my brand new Apple MacBook!!! I’m sooo excited about it, and about the fact that I can now create some awesome one-page recipe with it for my blogs… I promise I will now have at least one new amazing recipe a month!

First, pea soup…yep! So now you might all think, ‘how boring could this be after she literally just said she’d come up with some amazing recipe…’, well let me tell you that with the delicious bacon and roasted ham, hello, this recipe is nothing short of AMAZING!

Now, the piece of resistance, Chicken & Waffles with Maple Hot Butter Sauce. This literally blew my mind. I had been wanting to make Chicken & Waffles forever, but this Maple Hot Butter Sauce really took this dish to the next level. I served the C&W with a light Arugula salad with maple butter dressing. I also made some Oreilles de Crisse. Not sure how to translate this to English, but anyway, so salty and so good! Next time I want to make them on the Charcoal. Salty and smokey should be an awesome combo. And last but not least, Maple Baked Donuts. But today I’ll be sharing only the pea soup and the C&W recipes. I’ll be sharing the donuts another day.

In the coming weeks, gather some friends and family and recreate some of these recipes for an homemade sugar shack experience. They’ll be a hit! And then you can have some Maple Taffy in the backyard… but do it soon… as the snow is melting quickly!

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skating with the wolves

For all of you in the Ottawa region who do not have plans tomorrow for family day, I’ve got the thing just for you; and if you already do have plans, keep on reading anyway as you’ll want to visit this skating venue before the end of winter. My friend and coworker Anne-Marie told me last week that she was going skating in the forest, and that got me immediately curious and interested… and once she came back, while she was telling me all about it, she knew I would be all over this. Right after looking at her pictures, I made plans to visit the beautiful skating village at Lac des Loups.

Getting up late is never an option at our house (unless you’re first name starts with a B apparently), but this Saturday we were all up before 7:30, had an early breakfast, packed some snacks, as well as the good camera, got all of our skates in the car and on our way we were. To go where exactly, the boys asked? To go skate with the wolves we said!

Skating is like our new favourite thing. The boys never even wanted to touch a pair of skates since 3 weeks ago. And now, can’t keep count of how many times we skated in the last few weeks. So skating with the wolves got them really excited.

We got to Skating through the Forest at around half past ten and within minutes we were on our way. One word: WOW! This place is incredible. It was love at first sight for me. How come I had never heard of this place before? Four kilometres of skating trails in the forest. The minute you step out of the cabin you’re on the ice and the trails awaits for you. We decided to borrow one of the available sleigh for the boys knowing they wouldn’t skate the full circle. As soon as we were in the forest, it was like we were alone in our own little piece of paradise. The sun was peaking through the trees, the birds were chirping and the squirrels were following us on our journey. Everybody was enjoying themselves and having fun. Liam was going from skating with us to enjoying a well deserved break in the sleigh, while Logan skated a bit but mostly was there to enjoy a free ride, as I think he enjoyed being pulled way too much to get out! Every couple of hundred meters there’s either a bench or standing area to give you little breaks. We did the entire trail and we can’t wait to be back doing it again. Hopefully next time we’ll ride the trails at night with torchlights illuminating the pathway. Skating in the Forest is fabulous and so much fun during the day, but I can just imagine the place at night; as it must be stunning.

We had one of the best morning, even with Brian’s complaining about his skates and feet hurting! This new found love for skating is a lot of fun for the kids but kind of a challenge for us who hadn’t skated in years! Still, I was able to show off some of my figure skating best moves; and please don’t laugh at my pictures… I swear I was able to do some almost perfect figures but Brian was just not able to take the shots! Yeah, I’m blaming the photographer and not the fact that my legs can’t get as high as they used too! The ice was in great shape, the weather was just perfect and we had the most enjoyable time. The boys kept howling like wolves in the sleigh, hoping to see the mascot Loupie somewhere, unfortunately, we didn’t and Logan shed a few tears before we left. Maybe next time Loggy Bunny.

Our perfect morning turned out to be even better when Brian decided to take us to a nearby place he had been before, The Chelsea Pub in Old Chelsea, about 20 minutes from our original destination and 45 minutes from home. The pub was great, and it reminded me of one of my favourite place ever, The Cottage in Lake Placid. Small, cozy and full of life, with friends catching up, families back from skiing, at least one back from skating, with many others just there to enjoy a great time at the pub. We had some drinks and delicious food, but sadly, I was way too full to try one of the awesome deserts that were displayed right next to our table. Next time for sure! And next time might be even sooner rather than later, as my girlfriends and I are looking for a cottage close to the Nordik Spa-Nature in Chelsea for our yearly Spring weekend girls’ getaway.

So really, you should all cancel your plans for tomorrow and go buy your tickets for Skating in the Forest, then make a reservation at the Chelsea Pub to enjoy some of the most delicious pub food in the region as well as a pint or two, cause after all, Monday is family day, and family day is a Holiday! And just like that your family day will be perfect!

If you do go to The Chelsea Pub, could you please bring me a piece of that awesome looking cheesecake on the second top shelf of the dessert display? Anyone, please!!!

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olympic ready

We are officially ready to cheer! Cheer for the Olympic games that is! We love the Olympics and we couldn’t be more excited. For two weeks we’ll be seated at the edge of our seats waiting for results, times, scores, medals, etc. Well, maybe we will already know the results because of time difference with Pyeongchang, but still, it’s so nerve racking to watch our Canadian athletes perform!

The boys loved to watch the last summer Olympics and were in awe for every competition, but mostly for diving… as they couldn’t believe real people were doing crazy stuff like that! We then started playing in the pool, jumping around, where I would present each of them as if they were contestants. Liam surprised us and did a front flip for the first time (without anyone knowing this was coming) and we went all crazy! He was so proud of himself right after he came out of the water, not too sure of what had just happened; but I was almost as proud of myself for catching it on video! We still cheer every time we watch it. And if he makes it to the Olympics one day, well that will make an awesome feel-good story on TV, with the video of its first jump ever!

So to say we are ready for some friendly winter competition is an understatement. The boys’ stuffed animals have already been competing in acrobatic skiing and jumping, winning soccer and go-kart medals as well as some of Brian’s dad old trophies we keep in the boys’ room!

We’ve also decorated our home with flags of various countries, drew the Olympic rings on the blackboard, and gathered all our Go-Canada gear. Found the cutest Olympic long john’s at The Bay for the boys, so fun to dress them in one-piece again!

We will be watching the Opening Ceremony tomorrow night with an Olympic flag pizza (which I’ll try to re-create from Pinterest). I’ve also made this cute cake in the shape of a tuque! We had so much fun baking and decorating our mini-donuts to build the Olympic rings. There is now sprinkles everywhere in my house, though!

Competitions are already underway, as there was some curling and alpine skiing today, so Go Canada! We’ll be watching and cheering for all of our athletes; and medal or not, you guys make us proud anyway. Good luck to all.

So, even if we’re full on-cheering for Canada with our gears and everything ready in our house, we will also be – very closely – following and cheering for one of our neighbors from the United States, Andrew Weibrecht, who has a special place in our hearts. Andrew’s family owns the Mirror Lake Inn in Lake Placid, and although we weren’t able to meet with him when we visited the beautiful MLI in December, we certainly got the chance to admire his two Olympic medals at the reception desk, and would love to see a another one on the wall next time we’re visiting. He’ll now be in his 3rd games, and I have to say that I will be cheering for him in his super-G races.

So Go Canada Go! And Go Andrew Go. Make us all proud! I wish you all some great 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic games.

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the good, the bad and the yummy

So, as the title says, I’ve got some mixed feelings about this week. So many highs and lows in a short period of time. Pure moments of happiness followed by the immediate need to crawl in bed and sleep for days until everything gets back to normal. Life is such a roller-coaster sometimes! Just a few more days until a new month begins, finally. So bring me all the heart stuff and birthday cake this February, cause this girl is ready (to turn 37, oh boy)!!!

We’ve all been sick since the beginning of January, and just when I thought things were taking a turn for the best, BOOM, Logan gets hit by it. Our poor baby has had a fever since Saturday, and he’s now been diagnosed with Scarlet fever. So, he’s missed all week of school and has spent numerous hours in hospital and clinics. I’m crossing my fingers that we’re in the home stretch! He’s been so amazing, thought, as he barely complained through it all! Unlike myself, as I feel like I’ve complained all week about everything; but I am just so tired of everyone being sick at home and not being able to enjoy winter like we normally do. Hopefully I will catch up on the missed hours of sleep this weekend.

So that was the bad in one short paragraph, now here’s the good! I actually feel like “the good” doesn’t quite describe what happened to me… it’s more like as if I am a different person now, and I will never be the same anymore… so I guess I should consider my last Thursday night movie date with my girl friend Véro as a life changing event, and nothing less! You might think that I am being a tad dramatic here when I say life changing, but that is the closest thing to how I feel, so bare with me! A few weeks ago, we had planned to go see The Greatest Showman last Thursday… so with 3 hours of sleep the night before, I was a bit tired, but still felt as if I needed a night off to the movies more than anything else. And thank God for it. From the first few seconds of this future Oscar winning movie I was hooked and already in love with all of it. Now thinking about it, I can’t believe I didn’t go see that movie before and that my life has been deprived of such entertainment for a full month! Well NO MORE! The soundtrack will play on and on from now on and until probably like forever! As I was watching the movie, at some point I felt like I might be having a heart attack: I was having such a rush, with so much to see, with the music, the colors, the costumes and the story line, which kept on taking my breath away for the full two hours. It’s a musical, so it may not be for everyone (I almost disowned my own mother after she told me she didn’t like La La Land as I couldn’t take the rejection!). But if you do enjoy musicals and want to be entertained while being taken away at a time when show business was a new thing, give it a chance and you won’t be sorry! I still have chills thinking about it and wondering when I can squeeze-in another viewing. The soundtrack is playing in the background as I am writing this, so I may have gotten taken away myself… but hopefully it does win an Oscar!

Now, for the yummy, or my second life changing event of the week: The Croque Monsieur! Oh yes, I am all over the place this week; no worry, I already know! So a few days before Christmas we had lunch at Art Is In Bakery in Ottawa and it was simply delicious. I think it may have been my first time having a real Croque Monsieur. And it was delicious. With all the crappiness of the last couple of days, well I decided to try and make my own homemade Croque Monsieur. LIFE CHANGING. (May I remind you that The Greatest Showman soundtrack is still playing in the background, so I may be feeling excessively joyful while thinking of Croque Monsieur and Hugh Jackman and I may be just over exaggerating a little here, calling a sandwich life changing, but it is still really something, I swear!). I was sitting alone in the kitchen, working on my never ending Harry Potter puzzle (the fabulous life of a blogger) when I had a moment of pure happiness as I took my first bite. Yes, this sandwich did and will give you happiness. So, I’m sharing this recipe with you while adding that you should definitely run to the supermarket and make it this weekend. You will thank me for it! Whoever said money can’t buy happiness is probably right, but money can buy cheese, and cheese makes me happy; so here goes this recipe!

Croque Monsieur

What you need:

4 slices of bread (I used Italiano bread)

a few slices of Black Forrest Ham

2 cup of Gruyere cheese shredded

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

3/4 cup milk

1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard

pinch of nutmeg

salt and pepper

How to:

First you have to make the Bechamel sauce. Don’t worry, super easy; it was my first time and it turned out great! In a small saucepan, melt the butter on medium heat and then add the flour. Whisk non-stop for about 2-3 minutes. Then slowly add the milk, a little bit at a time, while still whisking. Mix until smooth and thick. Remove from heat, add the Dijon, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Let cool down before using. I made the Bechamel the day before and stored it in the fridge until I was ready to use.

Heat the oven at 425. Place parchment paper on the bottom of a baking sheet. Place two bread slices on the baking sheet and spread some Bechamel sauce on one side of each. Don’t be shy with the sauce, it’s amazing. Place the ham on top of the Bechamel and then add 1/2 cup of the Gruyere on each. Spread some sauce on both sides of the two unused slices of bread and place them both on top of the cheese and ham. Use the remaining of the Gruyere and cover the top of both sandwiches. Place in oven until the cheese is melted, for about 10 minutes, then broil for a few minutes until golden, but keep an eye on it, as you don’t want to burn them.

I ate my Croque Monsieur with a light salad and it was great. It’s so filling, that honestly you don’t really need a side, but the freshness of the lettuce helps balance the richness of the sandwich.

So, here’s my advice to you, run to the supermarket to get some nice Gruyere and ham, make the Croque Monsieur for lunch or even diner; then, put on your sweatpants and head out to the movie theater to watch The Great Showman. Your hearts and tummies will be thankful! Have a great weekend my friends.

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our christmas

Hope your Christmas was merry and bright. Ours was, and as always we had a jam-packed schedule; but that is clearly how we love it!

The boys were super excited on Christmas Eve, so I decided to put my long to-do list on the side and go snowshoeing with them to burn off some of that energy. It was kind of cold outside, but not enough to prevent us from enjoying our nice walk by the river. Definitely something I would like do every Christmas Eve from now on. After that we had a light lunch and it was already time for the kids Christmas Eve’s nap. They didn’t like the idea that they had to take a nap, but knowing that they would go to bed past midnight, we knew they had to. After the nap, they got dressed up, we packed the car with food and gifts and we were on our way.

We have had this amazing fondue dinner at my mother-in-law on Christmas Eve for years, and this year was no different. It’s just so nice to start the Holiday Season with a nice dinner that does not involve turkey! So after dinner we all opened some gifts and then had a lot of fun with our yearly gift exchanged thing. I’m so happy that Brian and I ended up with the two things I really wanted!!! Since my kids are the youngest on both sides of Brian’s family, well they were the only ones that kept on asking for more gifts, literally ALL-NIGHT-LONG! But what’s Christmas without a little excitement, right?

We then made our way to our second family gathering of the night at my father-in-law’s for the Woodbury ‘Réveillon de Noel’. Just before midnight, Liam, who was kind of quiet so far, told me he had a headache, so I gave him a bit of medicine as he looked like he was starting a fever and wasn’t really himself. Logan on the other hand had a blast. He danced, he sang Christmas song with uncle Bobby, and he was super excited to see Santa. The boys finally went to bed at around 1:30 am. Yep! We then kept on partying until something like 2:30, then decided it was time to head back home.

Home is about 45 minutes away, but it nearly took us 2 hours to get there. We had looked at the weather forecast in the afternoon in order to decide if we should sleep over or come back home, and as expected (and forecasted), there was like a beautiful Christmas Eve light snowstorm going on when we left; but then, 15 minutes later, we were driving in a pure blizzard… and I wanted to cry as I couldn’t see a thing 15 feet in front of me! It was white everywhere, and I couldn’t see the road, or the shoulder lane, or the ditch, or like anything, but luckily, Brian didn’t fell asleep and did his best to keep me calm so we would make it home safely. I will NEVER drive in a snow storm like that one again. Let’s just say that by the end of that ‘beautiful’ Christmas Eve snowstorm, there was at least foot of snow in our driveway, which was way more than expected. We should have clearly stayed there and continue to party instead of driving back home!

So, we got to bed at around 4:30 am only to be woken up at 8 by an excited and joyful Logan. By that time, Santa had come, had eaten the cookies, drank the milk, and had left each of the boys the toy they had asked him. Liam woke up with a severe sore throat and a headache, so gifts opening was quieter than usual for him. The boys got the new Nintendo Switch console as a surprise, and they were really happy about it, but with Liam not having as much energy, the reaction was kind of mellow, or not as loud as expected! For months now, Liam has been talking about the Nintendo Switch… so when he told us 3 weeks ago that his best friend from school was probably having one for Christmas, we told him that he was still too young for it and would have to wait a few more years before he’d get one… his response was ‘I will never get the Switch; I will only get the Switch when I’ll be 30 years old’… so dramatic, I wonder where he gets this from… so anyway, we were expecting him to jump all over the place, but poor little thing, he was clearly not feeling too well. My favorite gifts the boys got are clearly their new Mario and Luigi pajamas; and I guess it was Logan’s favorite as well, as he did not take it off yet since he opened it! They look so funny in them, so I couldn’t care less if he’s spent the last 3 days wearing it!

We were hosting Christmas dinner at our house. And I just love this new tradition: my Mom and Frank bring all the food and I provide the house! My brother and his family came over as well as my aunt Lise-Ann and her family. We opened more gifts and then ate too much food. The kids were all playing downstairs, and at some point my nephew came up and I asked him what were they all doing and he told me that they were all playing Mario Kart, except for Liam who was watching them from the couch under his blanket. Well that’s clearly not Liam, as he’s a Mario Kart pro (and addict!). So I went downstairs to get him, and poor little thing, he was having a fever. He was shivering and in really bad shape. So yeah, I put him to bed at 6 on Christmas Day. He was so sad he couldn’t enjoy Christmas Day with his cousins, but the only thing he wanted was to go to bed. He woke up 14 hours later. I guess he needed to rest. Dinner was delicious; dessert too. Everyone was gone by 10, and then I just sat by myself in the living room, listening to Christmas music on the record turntable while watching the tree lights. It never last long enough. I was so sad it was already over. But still, it was a great Christmas season, and I enjoyed every moments of it.

Boxing Day was pretty boring at our house. The day started with Liam throwing up in our bed. So I did some laundry, then cleaned up the house a little while staying in our jammies all day. By the end of the day, Liam was back to his usual self and started to play the new console like a pro. The best part of my day was when I started a 1000 pieces puzzle. Woot woot. Party animal over here!

We’re still in la-la-land over here, enjoying our two weeks holiday, not caring what we’ll do today, when we’ll get dressed up or what to eat next. So far it feels like all we’ve eaten this week is leftovers from Christmas. Hello leftovers! I will share the Ultimate Leftover Turkey Sandwich later this week, so don’t miss this one, as I’m pretty sure all of you will have everything you need in your fridge to do this on January 2nd!

Even if Christmas was not picture perfect, it was still great, and of course the best time of the year. We spent lots of time cuddling and being together and that’s the best part of it. Right now it’s minus 40 degrees Celsius over here, so were staying inside, playing with our new games and living on leftovers and hot chocolate. Not too bad, right? Well, I hope Santa was good to all of you and that you’ve spent time with the people you love. Now, let’s get ready for NYE!


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our beautiful christmas home

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

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

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

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

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

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

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it’s advent calendar time

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

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

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

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

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

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


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our magical tree tradition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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a wish list for everybody

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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t’was the weekend before halloween

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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