Easter is only a few short weeks away and being in quarantine doesn’t make shopping for our little bunnies easy. So, I’m bringing you the best AMAZON EASTER LIST you are going to find! Most of these items can be shipped with Prime in a few days. Oh, if you don’t have Prime by now, get it! You’ll get two-day shipping on mostly everything on top of Prime movies and TV Shows… because let’s face it, if you have to stay home for a month like I do, it’s not gonna take long before you’ve seen all the best Netflix has to offer! Bonus, your husband can watch Jack Ryan or Treadstone, so it’s like you got them an early Easter present! So go ahead and fill out that cart… might has well add extra chocolate at the end, because you will NEED it at one point in the next few weeks! Hoppy shopping!
1. Instax: Still can’t get enough. Even if we have 2 in our house, I’m thinking I need one too!
2. Bunny Diffuser: You will need to diffuse lots of oil in the next little while and why not do it in Easter style. I recommend Stress Away from Young Living, especially if you have a few kids running around the house all-day.
3. Le petit lapin magique: Our favourite Easter book (there’s also one for Christmas). Only 2 books in this collection but they are so adorable. The drawings are soft and it’s a perfect gift for your little book lover. Logan loves to read this one to me… it’s the sweetest thing ever for my little bunny lover.
4. Bubble gun: I hate bubbles but the boys love them. It’s spring now, so send them outside and let them have fun. And no more sticky fingers with this bubble gun!
5. Egg Chalk: Need, need, need. We go through so much chalk over here it’s insane. These are super cute to add to your basket loot.
6. Mini scooter: Snow on the ground will soon be all gone and your young ones will love to ride this thing. So instead of giving them an easter basket, organize a treasure hunt around the house so they can find the scooter in the driveway at the end. That’s what I did 4 years ago and it was such a success.
7. Bunnies by the Bay: This one is my FAV. Logan’s bunny. We have 3 (well 5 if you count the 2 we’ve lost along the way) and he sleeps with them every night. Perfect for baby’s first Easter. The entire Bunnies by the Bay collection is awesome.
8. Sushi Go: We have this game and it’s the cutest. Fun too. Play this after diner or on the go at the restaurant. A family favourite.
10. Unicorn Bath Bombs: So many choices on Amazon, but I chose these because of their colors. Perfect for Easter.
11. iPhone Cable Have a teenager on that list? Get them a new cable… cause you know they are going to end up using yours. Love the Amazon Basics line. And the cable works great. I used to know because my boys (not sure which one of the 3) stole my pink one!
12. Jumpin’: We love this game. It’s not easy at all. Lots of levels for everyone to enjoy.
13. Bunny socks: Bought those a few years ago and we still wear them. Adorable, get a pair for each member of the family and then get the cutest picture.
14. How to draw Harry Potter: This item will for sure be in both boys’ basket. We’re obsessed with HP so we definitely need this. And the price is pretty awesome too!
15. Bunny Eye Mask: How cute!?! And inexpensive. Added to my cart already!
16. Mandalorian Lego: My boys can’t wait to get their hands on this set. They are obsessed… who am I kidding… I’m obsessed too!
17. IQ XOXO: Portable game. Perfect for long drives or at the restaurants. Not sure who loves it more, the boys or Brian. Great for the entire family.
18. Rainbow Stacking Blocks: I just love fun toys for babies that are durable and can be used forever. This set would be a great add to any baby basket.
So one of my ultimate dream finally came true: TO HAVE AN AMAZING WHITE KITCHEN!!!
From the moment I walked into my house while doing house hunting about 6 years ago, I knew this is where I was going to stay, but I also knew that this kitchen had to be re-done in white one day. It should have never been brown-ish from the first place. I remember walking through it for the first time and picturing it all-white, and it was so beautiful! So it was my only condition for buying the house. It needed to be white within 6 months. Well, 6 months turned into over 5 years, but we finally did it, we re-did our kitchen, and it is exactly as I’d pictured it in 2015, or even better, and here’s how it all happened.
Last spring, we started to talk about our summer plans, what we wanted to do in the next year, where we wanted to go, Brian was looking at houses on the market for our friends who were looking to move in town, and from time to time he would show one to me and say things like ‘‘look at this one… this one is really nice… would you like this one for us?’’. For me things were quite simple, like let’s not travel this summer and please stop looking at other houses, cause I love my house and I want to stay here, but let’s redo our kitchen, in white, please! Well if you follow my blog you know that we ended up traveling quite a bit last summer, so I guess I didn’t win that one – for now.
So summer happened and my plans were kind of put on hold, and instead of re-doing our kitchen, we went on multiple road trips and had a blast in the pool all summer long! Brian had actually never been a fan of this whole kitchen-reno-project-idea of mine. So I knew it would be a tough sell with him. But then, on my last weekend off of the summer, out of nowhere, I asked Brian if we could go to Ikea on Sunday morning to look at white counter tops, you know, just to get an idea, and he said yes!!! So just like that, this was the beginning of our kitchen reno. So at the same time as our back-to-school, which is probably the most hectic time of the year for me at work and home, we started a huge reno project. I knew that a full kitchen renovation wasn’t going to be easy for us, but man, I was not expecting it to be such an emotional roller coaster. Ishhh… I have to say that he was very good putting up with me for the following two months… still not sure how we got through this. But we did, so good for us!
After that visit to Ikea, I had a pretty good idea where this was going. So here what my original plan looked like: do it all ourselves, let’s paint the cabinets white, let’s take out that awful backsplash and replace it with white subway tiles, let’s put the cheapest white countertop we can find and then repaint the room floor to ceiling. Easy enough, right? I really thought we could do all of this in about a weekend or so. Hummmm, not really. That trip to Ikea was actually a game changer for me. While I thought I would have to settle for the cheapest laminate countertop to stay within our budget, I realized that getting a bright and shiny white Quartz countertop would actually not cost me a leg and an arm. So we shopped around a little and found the perfect all-white countertop at Granstone in Ottawa. Brian sent an email to the store for a quote on a Monday, picked up a few samples on the Wednesday, got some measurements done a week later, and basically, not even a month after sending that original email, all was done and it looked A-MA-ZING.
Granstone went above and beyond all of my expectations. First, their prices were really competitive, like we were so impressed with the price for the Quartz countertop that after receiving the first quote, we immediately asked them to add a quote for the backsplash, which they ended up doing as well. Dealing with them was actually the best part and the smoothest part of our entire reno. Like, I can’t for the life of me visit a renovation store when it comes to picking and choosing between this tile or that one. So many choices, way too many possibilities, and definitely not enough patience. So I sent Brian to pick out a few white countertop samples to bring back home and I selected my favorite one. Did the same with the backsplash. After that, within a few days, our kitchen was completely transformed. Here’s how it went down: on day one the tiles and counter were removed, on day two the wall was prepped for the new backsplash and on day three they brought in and installed my gorgeous Quartz white countertops. I was in love with it from the moment I saw it. Took a picture of my Big Mac meal that evening (because you eat lots of junk food during a kitchen reno) and posted it on Instagram saying something like: “Isn’t this the most beautiful Big Mac meal you’ve ever seen?” with the beaming white countertop in the back. I couldn’t stop staring at it. The following week was the backslash. I think I cried when it was done. We had it installed up to the ceiling and it’s so different and soft and perfect. They did an amazing job and I am so happy we found Granstone in the first place. If you’re thinking about doing a kitchen reno, you need to visit them. Oh, you can try to find a better price or better service somewhere else, but you won’t! If we would have known before, we would have done our kitchen reno years ago. We’ve already sent 2 of our friends there so far and they’ve both had amazing experiences. Ask for Jen, mention the blog, and you’ll get a discount, I swear!
So while the transformation with Granstone went smoothly, painting the cabinet didn’t. The original plan was to do everything ourselves, and now, all that was actually left for us to do was painting the cabinets, and it ended up being like HELL. I’ve had too many meltdowns to count and too many arguments to last a lifetime during that awful month. After the countertops and backsplash were done, I had no time to lose, the eager beaver in me wanted this project completed NOW!!! So I picked up the primer on a Friday night, washed and rinsed the cabinet doors with the recommended product, let everything dry for 24 hours, took the doors off and brought them downstairs in our Dexter’s kill room ready to be spray painted. Then our friends Danika and Scot came over to help us prime the cabinet doors. We were really counting on them to help us with this project since they had already painted their kitchen cabinets by themselves and the result was glorious (and because I had no clue whatsoever what I was getting myself into). So they came in with all the gears we could possibly need for this. They also came with a few advice, like when Scot said ‘’I’m pretty sure you need to sand those doors first, eh’’. But I had been told we could probably do it without sanding first, so in order to save time, that’s what we did. We aligned the 52 cabinet doors and drawers and gave a first coat of primer. Yes, 52. It took about 10 minutes with the spray paint gun, not bad, right?
After an hour of drying time, I went downstairs and that’s when I saw the mess. The primer did not stick to the wood. It had made bubbles everywhere and I wanted to scream. I was in total disbelief and couldn’t understand what was happening to us. So the next day we looked into it, googled what to do now, went back to the store, and apparently the first step for a project like this one is very simple, and it’s called ‘’take the time to sand those freaking cabinet doors first’’. So we brought all of the cabinet doors and drawers back upstairs, then outside a few at a time, stripped the first coat of primer, sanded both sides, and then washed and rinsed them all one by one. It doesn’t sound like much now, but at that point, our renovation project had taken a turn for the worse. Over the course of the following 14 days that’s literally all I did after work and on the weekends, and almost all by myself since Brian was out of town for work for a full week. It was a total chaos. I cried every time I picked up a new piece and brought it outside to work on it. Once we were done, my mom rewashed all of the doors and drawers and we started the primer part again. We gave 2 coats of primer, then 2 or 3 coats of paint depending on the results, and after about 40 hours of work, I was done. Oh, and I only painted the doors and drawers, as my mom ended up being the one priming and painting the cabinet frames while we were at work and the boys at school since you can’t really paint a kitchen with kids running around!
So I said earlier that the first time I walked into my kitchen I knew it had to be white… well I also had a few more ideas that came with it. One of the first thing I did was to order gold cabinet knobs on Amazon, and after 3 different orders, I finally got it right with my champagne gold knobs! Also bought a gold faucet, on Amazon as well, for like a quarter of the price I would have paid in store and it’s AMAZING. I originally went to a few stores to find the perfect gold faucet and I got a ‘’no we don’t, but please come back in like 20 years ago’’ answer. Eh, have you seen my kitchen, B*tch! I also knew that I needed to remove one of the stand-alone cabinet to make the room brighter. And that’s what I did. And it was one of the best decision of the entire project. It looks so much better now. That cabinet was right between the two windows and did absolutely nothing else than store crap. So I removed it, had backsplash installed up to the ceiling, and then decided to put two wooden floating shelves right between the windows. I was a bit skeptic at some point when Brian started to drill holes through my gorgeous ceramic tiles to mount the floating shelves properly, but he installed them like it was his day job and it worked perfectly! And now I’m obsessed with them. It’s like the perfect little spot to store my favorite mugs and candid pictures or festive little decorations. It really opened up the space and the wood gave some balance to all the white. Oh, yeah, about the balance with all the white… well at some point after we had primed the cabinet frames, Brian started to have this idea that it was going to be too white. I was confident it wouldn’t and argued with him that this was actually the point, to have a white kitchen. But after looking at pictures on Pinterest (that he found on his own new Pinterest account!), I decided that painting the island a different color may actually be the way to go. So I wanted pink, he wanted some sort of blue-green, and we settled for blue. A truly unique blue. We bought half a paint of blue. Didn’t like it. Bought another blue. Didn’t like it either. Bought a third blue. Still didn’t like it. Then, we started to mix them together and ended up trying different combinations until we found the perfect blue. With the gold knobs, and the white countertop, it is so beautiful.
The installation of the doors and drawers was bittersweet. I was so happy to finally have a white kitchen, yet so exhausted and tired that I could barely give a sh*t! By that time, all I wanted was to get the walls and ceiling painted asap so we could be done with this and not talk about kitchen reno for a long long time. So instead of doing it ourselves, as originally planned, we asked one of our friend to do it, and within 12 hours, the paint job was all done, which sealed the deal for our kitchen renovation.
It took way longer than I thought, but it was finally over. And now, I am so happy with the results, which is all that matters. Living without a proper kitchen for over a month was hard, especially with two kids. We lived with sealed cabinets for over two weeks, food scattered pretty much everywhere in the living room, tools covering up the kitchen table, cutlery drawers on the floor and way too many take-out meals, but we made it. What’s funny is that I can barely remember how it looked like before without looking at a picture. It’s crazy. It was a great kitchen, but I was right from the beginning, it was sooo meant to be white, and now it is, and I am going to enjoy it to the fullest.
Saturday mornings are now my favorites. I sit in my rocking chair with my pink cozy blanket and a latte in my hands and I can’t keep myself from staring and it. It wasn’t easy, but I would do it all over again in a heartbeat if you’d ask me. My kitchen is where I spend the most time in my home. It’s where I cook meals for my family, where we entertain our friends and family, where the boys do their homework, where we share the best part of our day, where I rock my babies when they have sorrows, where we craft and where we love. And now, we can do all those things in my beautiful and bright WHITE kitchen. And that’s a dream come true!
Our Christmas holidays are coming to an end and even if I wish this magic could last forever, I feel rested and ready for the New Year!
We’ve been off school and work for the last 16 days and what a break it was. As always, it was jam-packed with so many things to do and places to go, yet, this year, we took the time to take more after-dinner walks, watch more movies and play more board games than during any other winter break.
December is always a busy month for us, but still probably my favorite of them all. We had various Christmas parties throughout the month prior to the actual Holiday seasons: our annual friends Christmas dinner (or should I say our annual dance party) at my friend Vero’s, our annual Lamoureux family Christmas dinner at our place, my aunt famous spaghetti night party and so on. By Christmas Eve, the kids and I were already pros at staying out late and having fun! So the festivities started with a fondue dinner at my mother-in-law, followed by Christmas Eve celebrations at my father-in-law, where the boys got a little suspicious about Santa when he walked in: “Santa looks different”. Not sure what I responded to that but Santa was very good with them, telling them both that he had already went to their place in Rockland and left something there they really wanted, so the magic worked perfectly in the end. Then, not too long after Santa left, Brian’s cousin Gary rejoined the party downstairs. Don’t know what’s up with him, but he misses Santa every year, I guess they can’t be seen in the same room at the same time, or something like that! Hopefully he’ll miss it one more time next year, that’s all I hope for, just one more year of all this magic with Santa…
So we got home at like 3am and we were all up by 8 to open up some more presents. Santa had eaten the cookies, drank the milk, brought back our Elf Willy with him (Willy should be back on December 1st, 2020), and had brought some more stuffed animals for the boys – I swear we have more than 300 now. As for me, I got the best gift ever, not sure if it was from Santa or Brian, but I am in love with my new SMEG espresso machine… she is a beauty and a perfect match for my new kitchen – I’ll do the kitchen reveal with before and after pictures later this month, I promise.
So since we had previously booked another family trip to Disney for next March break, I wanted to find a fun way to tell them on Christmas morning that we were going to Disney again… Last time I tried to surprise the boys with a Disney trip was actually a total disaster, as they didn’t get it and were quite confused about the stuffed Mickey Mouse they had just received. But I decided to try again, this time with something different and a little more to the point. So I had a custom puzzle made of a picture we took of them right in front of the Magic Kingdom castle during our last trip. Each presents under the tree had a piece of the puzzle on it, so they had to gradually complete the puzzle as we were opening presents, with the last two pieces being them in front of the castle, so they could connect the dots that ‘they’ were going back to Disney. With a few nudges they finally got it. They were happy, maybe not like you see in You Tube videos, but happy nonetheless! I will take it as it was definitely better than last time I tried to surprise them. And I will enjoy and treasure everything leading up to this trip, cause just like Christmas magic, you never know when they will outgrow the Peter Pan magic. Not now please, just one more year, that’s all I hope for…
Christmas Day was slow and lazy, drinking lattes by the tree and having French onion soup for lunch with my mom and Frank. We played games with the boys all afternoon long while waiting for our guests to arrive. We had an amazing diner and we chatted until late at night. What a beautiful day it was. Then Liam made it either better, or worse, still not sure, when he told me, as I was about to close the light so he could go to sleep, that he had the best Christmas ever and couldn’t wait for next year as Christmas was his favorite day of the year. He definitely made it better, yes, Christmas was perfect this year.
The next few days were spent cuddling, taking walks in the snow, building snow forts and playing more games. We also saw the new Jumanji movie in the theatre and the boys (meaning Brian as well) are now obsessed with the movies and have been watching the new and old ones in loops! We’ve also been binge watching The Office every night until way past my bed time so I have no idea how I’ll get back to my regular schedule as of tomorrow morning!
We always spend NYE with our friends Vero, Mat and their two girls. Back in the days where we didn’t have kids, we used to find classy parties where we would dress up for the occasion, but, oh, not anymore! Our new tradition is to go on a sleigh ride in the afternoon and then spend the evening in our pajamas. So this year we found the most amazing sleigh ride not too far away from home, and it was MAGICAL. With fresh snow falling, we strolled in the most gorgeous sleigh to the sound of sleigh bells, just us, two beautiful horses going through trees covered with snow. This was the best thing I’ve done during my holidays for sure. The Bedard Brunet Family Farm sleigh ride was amazing and peaceful, and I truly recommend them. We will be booking another sleigh ride this winter and we’ve also been talking about going again in the summer. They were telling us about a wagon ride in the forest during the summer, and I just can’t wait to see that. They were so friendly and fun, they even joined in when the kids started singing Christmas carols. I’m obsessed with sleigh rides and this one was definitely the best we have ever had. Thanks again for this wonderful time, we’ll see you soon.
We then headed home for some raclette, movies for the kids (Jumanji, of course) and a late night dance party. We rang the New Year with our best friends, just like we had done in 2010 and 2000, and it was perfect.
So now, the beginning of a new decade, the third one that I’m starting by Brian’s side, and the first one that I’m starting as a mother… and for this one, we have so many plans, and hopes, and dreams, and it’s going to be a great one, I can feel it. This is our time, and we’ll make the best of it. In 2020’s, even if the world around me won’t stop going like a thousand miles per hour, I want to learn to slow down a little, to take a minute, to enjoy what I have and to live in the moment, spending as much time as I can with my family and with the ones I love.
Hope you had the best holiday season, wishing you all health and happiness in the year to come.
And just like that, October’s gone and it’s already the Holiday Season! So bring me all the chunky knitted hats, oversized scarves, reading socks and matching pajamas you can find. I really have a soft spot for matching pajamas, so when you mix it up with a Christmas theme, you get me totally obsessed!
So to make things easy for you, I’ve shopped all the best website to find you this season’s best. You’re welcome!
1- Little Drummer Pajama: Gap always delivers, and this year again, their holiday catalogue is awesome. The only down point is they don’t have these cute pj’s in adult size. But if you have a toddler, this pajama is definitely perfect for him! Also, Gap has the best sales. I never buy anything that’s not 40% off. Just subscribe to their email and you’ll never miss on another deal.
2- Pink Santa: PINK and SANTA. Need I say more? You won’t find a better deal! Run, don’t walk, run to get this one before they’re all gone!
3- Charlie Brown: Call me nostalgic if you want, but you could get me the saddest Christmas tree and I would still be very happy as long as I have this pajama. This one is on the more expensive side, but remember, it’s not what’s under the Christmas tree that matters, it’s who’s around it… and the pj they’re wearing!
4- Harry Potter: Did you really think I would pass on HP because this is a Christmas blog? Oh no, I definitely wouldn’t. Especially not when this Harry Potter pajama would make the perfect Christmas morning outfit. Who’s with me on that one? This Mini Boden HP line is to die for, go check it out by yourself!
5- Ski Lifts: So cute and these can last all winter long. Just picture it, cute pj’s, a fireplace and a cabin. I should maybe link a cottage rental as well here. Petit Lem has been a favorite of ours since Liam was a baby. The quality is AMAZING, they’re so soft, and the keep their shape and doesn’t peel. Best purchase you can make! You definitely won’t regret it.
6-Baby Griswold: This makes me want another baby! A baby a la Christmas Vacation. So adorable, you definitely need to get this for your baby’s first Christmas! If your babies are not babies anymore, like mines, well you’ll be happy to know they also comes in sizes up to 7. So all the kiddos can match, and the mommy too! Of course I already bought that one for me!
7- Sleigh all day: Burt’s Bees steels my heart every year with their simple and timeless pieces. I’m in love with this one. Size 0 to 5t. And available at… TARGET! Just one more reason to place an order!
8-Rugby Striped Pajamas: So here’s our 2019 Christmas pajamas. I’ve been eyeing these pj’s forever and finally decided to make the call. These will be cute year round and will match my Christmas décor perfectly, which is all that matters, right? Joking! They are actually perfect, the boys love them, and the intended up-and-down at Target to pick them up turned into a weekend road trip to Lake Placid, which was a great way to start our winter.
9-Stockings PJ: Adorable! But still, it kills me that I can’t justify buying this one. Makes me want a pink tree and everything girly. Hatley is super durable and high quality. Tell me which little girl wouldn’t want to go to bed wearing this on the 24th?
Now, all you have to do is to make yourself a cup of cocoa, put on some Christmas music and shop the night away!
So I swore to myself that I would be better at blogging this fall. Well that was a total fail. Last time I posted something was after our Boston trip which already seems to have happened so long ago, sometime last summer. Well fall isn’t over, so let’s do this.
Fall is usually my favorite season, yet, this year, it feels like it’s simply slipping by while I didn’t get a chance to do all the things I wanted to do. So here’s what happened in the last few months:
SCHOOL: A month and a half later, it feels like we are finally getting our groove back! I won’t lie, last year was HARD. Like really, really hard. Long story short, second grade was terrible for Liam. His anxiety went from being a subtle on and off thing to being at an all-time high and all over the place. He was in such a bad place at some point we hardly recognized him. But summer was great, and he got to recharge fully (and so did I), and he was so ready to tackle 3rd grade. Things are way better for him now, and we finally feel like we can all breathe again. He’s got an amazing teacher and some great support at school, as well as some great friends, and we are so thankful that he seems happy again. Keep up the good work! And our Logan… well it’s like Loggy being Loggy, days in, days out! He loves school, he loved finally having some homework to do like his big brother (this new found love actually lasted for about 5 minutes), he’s friend with everyone and he’s just a happy go getter. Crossing my fingers that things keep on looking up for him the way it has so far.
BEAU’S OKTOBERFEST: What a great time we had. Another EPIC weekend in Vankleek Hill for us. Probably one of the best one ever, yet! We partied hard with our best friends Mathieu and Vero on Friday night, which means we stayed way past my pre-set curfew for the Friday night, but in the end, it was all worth it! We shared so much food… it’s crazy how much food we end up eating every year during that weekend. I only go for the food, and boy oh boy did Oktoberfest delivered this year again! Just writing about it makes me hungry. Let’s just say walking back to the car wasn’t easy with two drunks while I felt completely stuffed. On Saturday, we were joined by Karine and Catherine, our Oktoberfest annual and forever buddies… We should actually write a book of ALL the things that happened through the years at Oktoberfest. We had the craziest time this year again. So much I want to share, yet, some of it probably un-sharable! So, as for the food, this year’s first place definitely goes to the Cheshire Cat Pub’s Reuben Sandwich and the Malted Milk Chocolate Peanut Dip Bar from Pascale’s Ice Cream. If you were at Beau’s Oktoberfest and didn’t try any of these two items, then what’s the point of even going? Seriously, you need to go to Beau’s Oktoberfest and try both of these next year!!!
KITCHEN: Nervous breakdowns happened on every Sunday for the last month. Why? Because we’re in the midst of our kitchen renos. Yep! And it’s been quite the challenge to say the least. Patience being one of my strong suits… NOT, definitely made this a more challenging project than I thought it would be. We had the backsplash removed, the wall prepped, the counter removed and then a new one installed and the new backsplash installed by Granstone, and until then, the project was going smoothly and the results were simply amazing. Then, it was our turn to take our wooden cabinets and paint them white. Sounds like a simple task, right? Well no, it isn’t! So we removed our 50 doors and drawers, washed and primed them as per the sales lady had told me when I bought the primer. FAIL… such an EPIC FAIL. The paint was peeling off and so was my sanity. We asked our friends who had re-done their kitchen and they confirmed that NO, it’s probably impossible to do this without sanding first. Pretty sure they thought I was stupid when I told them I had bought this primer who would do the job without even sanding first. Ugghhh!!! So we had to scrape the primer off of every door, sand everything, and then start all over again. Let’s just say I’ve literally painted and swore at my cabinet doors every single day over the past month. Now, finally, for the last few days we’ve been installing them back on, and it looks sooo good! My new kitchen is AMAZING, and just how I had imagined it would be: so white and so bright, and I am in love with it! Definitely more to follow on that as soon as we’re completely done!
HP TRAIN: You all know how Harry Potter obsessed we are. So when I found out about a HP train ride in the Ottawa region, I signed us up. For five bucks each… let’s say I was not expecting much. Boy was I wrong. Of course we showed up wearing our finest HP gear and we were so happy we did. The Smith Falls Train Museum was totally transformed by magic and to say we had a blast is an understatement. Local vendors, photo booth, a Quidditch game with brooms, a cupcake vendor that was simply amazing as well as a short but awesome train ride. We didn’t wanted to leave. It was the best 5$ I’ve spent this fall for sure. I can hardly wait for next year to visit again. Zero expectation turned out to be the best Saturday for all of us. And a quick shout-out to the Black Lory who sold us the cutest handmade HP dolls. Liam got a snitch while Logan got the hippogriff. I didn’t get any, but kind of regretted not buying the Luna doll, so that same night I placed an order online for one, and then decided to get the Sirius Black as well while I was at it! This will make great Halloween gifts for the boys. They will be so excited when they see them. So two thumbs up for the Smith Falls Train Museum, we will definitely be back next year. Check out for the Christmas train as well, you just might see us there!
PUMPKIN PATCH: It’s mid-October and until a few days ago, there were still no pumpkin in front of my house. This is sooo not me! So on Saturday morning, first thing, I told the boys we were going to the Pumpkin Patch to get ourselves some pumpkins, which is something they actually love doing as much as I do. Since I’ve heard about this place in Gatineau about 3 years ago, I don’t think I could ever go anywhere else to get our pumpkins, even if it’s like close to an hour from home. Courges & Cie is simply the best, with the most beautiful pumpkins and squash, the best pumpkins donuts and pumpkins poutine, with some play structures for the kids, and everything you need to entertain the whole family for a few hours while picking up your pumpkins directly from the pumpkin patch.
So now that the leaves have turned, the nights are a bit colder and the day a bit crispier, it’s time to relax and enjoy the moment, and light up my new favorite pumpkin pecan waffles candle, drink some PSL while wearing my new favorite reading socks and start cooking some tasty fall meals in my new favorite kitchen. Enjoy fall everyone, I know I will.
Camp Woods 2019 is in full swing! This home based summer camp tradition has started about 4 years ago, back when Liam started to go to school and I started to spend every summer with them. They don’t get to go to regular summer camp, so I decided to bring summer camp to our place as a way to keep them busy. It’s a lot of fun for them, it’s sometimes a lot of groundwork for me, but they love it, so I play along. (If you’ve been following me or know me, then you know that I actually love it probably as much as they do!)
They both love to have some sort of organized schedule as part of their regular day to day, so I do the same for the summer camp, where every week has a different theme that they choose (that I choose!), with various activities that they really want to do (mostly that I really want to do!).
My kids love the fact that this camp doesn’t require a backpack, which makes it different than a regular school day, but what they love the most about it is that they have to stay home for a full week and still be entertained! They really like spending time together at home… and for the first few weeks of summer, after a long school year, I’m definitely okay with that as well, but later this summer, I will for sure force them to get out and go for some other type of activities, like museum, mini-putt, water slides, movies, etc.
Oh, guess what, it’s been a long school year for me as well, so at some point I will need a break from having them running around the house all day as well and will send them on sleepovers for a few days at my mom’s or will tell them to call their Gra-Gra (Brian’s mom) to ask if they can go camping with her. She will for sure say yes! But for now, the activities are non-stop and we can’t get enough of it.
We LOVE themes and we usually decide them on weekly basis. And then we do everything possible around that theme, like crafts, outings, recipes and activities. We are never short on what to do next!
Week 1 was obviously Toy Story. We’ve been hard core fans since forever and whether we like it or not, Toy Story always seems to find us! Like Woody was Liam’s first favorite toy, then it became their favorite movie, then we found a mint Buzz for like 2$ at a garage sale, etc. But my favorite Toy Story memory will always be the one where Logan was chosen as the honorary Sheriff of the Park in Disneyland back when we visited Disney California in 2016. Still can’t believe he was chosen on that day. I still remember asking them ‘’so how many kids get picked like that every day?’’ thinking that they would say 50 or 100… but no, one, only one gets picked and Logan got to be the one! We were so happy for him, and for us as well as we got fast passes to every ride and had reserved seating (like the best seats in the house) for the nightly show. This made our Disney trip truly magical as we had the best day ever, all that while Logan was proudly wearing his golden sheriff star! No wonder he likes that cowboy so much now!
So for our first week of Camp Woods, we had to go see TS4 at the drive-in on the very first day of our summer vacation, and God, will I ever regret that decision. I don’t think I would have had been able to not go see the TS4 movie, but I kind of wish I hadn’t. I wasn’t expecting my vacation to start with such a meltdown. The boys loved it while I’m still unsure about how I feel about it. I don’t think I will ever come close to crying for a kid movie like I did at the end of TS3, but man, that goodbye scene in TS4 was gut wrenching. SPOILER ALERT: Like, I knew Woody loved Bo, I could see that in the first movie, but for Christ’s sake, did he really love her that much? What about your family, man??? Not sure when I’ll be ready to see the movie again… I kind of wish they would have ended it with TS3 where they made me bawl like a cow just before they made my heart so happy. I know you will still watch it, but all you adults have been warned, you may regret not leaving it at movie number 3!
Of course we had a great time at the Drive-In with my sister in law and their cousin Nini. I can’t actually recall the last time the boys laughed that loudly at a movie, but again, the ending… well, my cousin Isabelle said it best in Instagram after she saw the movie: come on Woody, #brosbeforehoes!!! The only thing I would change about that hashtag is #brosbeforeboes!
So we decided to make a few TS inspired craft the following week. We made some slinky dogs, a few aliens’ plates, we crafted a Forky, the new TS4 friend, as well as some Ducky and Bunny cupcakes. All while watching the first 3 movies at home all week long.
On week 1 we’ve also spent a lot of time in the pool, played a few round of Chutes and Ladders, as well as many games of our family favorite, Bingo!!! It was a great week filled with great memories as well as some random thought of ‘’y tho Woody, why?’’. FYI – I should get over it eventually, probably about right after I go see Frozen 2.
Week 2 and 3 is/will be all about Harry Potter. I won’t lie to you, HP and Disney are pretty much sending me straight to bankruptcy. I mean, come on… 7 new HP Lego sets are coming out this summer. You’ve got to be kidding me. Like, are they expecting me not to buy them all??? Duh! So I’m pretending they’re for my kids and I feel less guilty when I buy them!
We have a tradition where we have to watch all of the movies every summer, and I just can’t wait to go through movie 1 to 8 in only a few days with them! Liam loves it as much as I do. He loves Harry and Sirius Black so much, while Logan, of course, loves Malfoy and Nagini! Liam has started reading the first book and I’m so proud of him. A big change for him, no pictures and a million tiny words, but he’s pretty excited and I am too.
We’ve crafted some washcloth owls and made some wands out of pens, I’ve got some games lined up for them; so I’d say we’re definitely ready to watch the movies now. I’ve got a great idea for a movie tent to build for our movie marathon, so we’re probably going to be very busy the next few days – all that while being dressed up in our Hogwarts robes, of course!
I will keep on sharing our Camp Woods activities on my Insta Stories, so follow along. Hope you will have a blast this summer, I know we will!
I’ve always knew I would love to be a Mom, but what I didn’t anticipated is how much I would. Maybe except for the lack of sleep here and there, the regular crawling into my bed at 3am and all the worrying about school, friends, and what’s going to happen at the teenage years! But overall, it’s so much more than what I could have ever hoped for! Which makes me appreciate my mom even more!
You know how I love celebration, and thinking about my mom and my boys, I have to say that for me it doesn’t really get any better than celebrating motherhood! So here’s my Mother’s Day Gift Guide, for all the amazing moms in your life!
1-Ciao Bella shoes: I’m totally in love with the Soludos brand. Their shoes are so cute and fun. These would be a great Mother’s Day gift for sure!
2-Straw purse: Got this purse for our Disney vacation and I can’t believe how many people asked me where I got it! I lied a few time, but the truth is that it’s from Wish! You can wear it with everything. I will be using it all summer long. And you and your Mom should too!
3-Anthro Latte Matte Bowls: These are my favorite bowls and they are now available in matte colours. Mixed them up, colour coordinate your kitchen and get ready for upcoming holidays! I guarantee you that your cereals will taste better with these.h
4-Kate Spade Mom bracelet: This delicate bracelet is giving me all the feels. Isn’t it perfect? Wish my two babies had enough money in their piggy bank to get me this for Mother’s Day.
5-Aqua Tote: A mom can NEVER have too many bags. Men, if there’s one thing you absolutely need to know about women, it’s this! Love this Indigo Tote for everyday use. Big enough to store everything y1ou need plus a bag of wipes, a baggies of fishies, an iPad, some stickers and an extra sweater just in case
6-Instax: You know you want one. And this Mother’s Day is the perfect excuse to ask for one. Retro, cute and so much fun! If only the films weren’t so expensive. But YOLO!
7-SMEG Espresso Machine: “I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it!” Well, Arianna, it really doesn’t work like that in my world… but I’m still putting it on the list as the ultimate Mother’s Day Gift! Would love to get this one so bad. This may even be the next impulsive purchase I make!!!
9-Essential Oils: Every Mama needs essential oils. Get her a Young Living Starter Kit and she will thank you for ever. I swear. Talk about a gift that keeps on giving. Everyone wants a healthier and safer lifestyle. Why not give it to her. Let me know if you want to know more about essential oils or if you would like to order a kit for the world’s best mom in your life!
10-Rings: My favorite items on this list! I already have these and you should too. I’m a sucker for monograms, and when I saw these rings, I just knew they were meant for me. I got the boys’ name stamped on 1mm rings and I can’t take them off. Super delicate and discreet, yet I can’t stop looking at them.
This is the best Mother’s Day gift list you will find, but the very best way to celebrate your mom is by spending time with her and never stop finding ways to make new memories. The rest is just a cherry on top! Happy Mother’s Day to all of you moms.
Valentine’s Day is less than a week away and I’ve got a few quick and easy ideas to celebrate your love ones!
This year, V-Day falls on a Thursday, so who’s got time for super fancy breakfast before school or 5 course meals after work? I’ve pulled up a few ideas for you. Perfect to spread the love in just a few minutes!
1- Grab a few pieces of coloured paper and leave some heart shaped love notes throughout the house or at work. It takes a few moments and can brighten up anyone’s day. Your husband, your kids, your coworkers and your Galantines!
2- My boys go crazy for fun and festive breakfast, but I ain’t gonna wake up at 5am to bake some waffles or anything like that. You know what? Buy the grocery store kind and warm them up in the toaster. Served with warmed up Nutella or maple syrup and some fresh strawberries. Why not add some strait from the bottle whipped cream. I’m telling you, it will take less than 5 minutes and you’ll have a love-ly breakfast they’ll definitely enjoy!
3- For lunch, prepare some heart shaped cheese quesadilla the night before and pack it up in the kid’s lunch box. It will be another fun and cute reminder of this special day. Guess what, I might just make myself one too!
4- Last year, we made a super fun and quick snack right after school. Store bought wafers cookies, we melted chocolate and dipped them in it. We then sprinkled some sprinkles! Done in 5, and delicious until the last crumb!
5- Lots of restaurants offer some delivery special for VDAY. So order up a heart shaped pizza for the kids. Easy, fast, with little to none clean-up after diner. Put them to bed early and enjoy a chick flick movie at home with your husband. Babysitters are difficult to find on Valentine’s Day, so reserve one for the weekend and stay home on the 14.
6- In the same easy mind frame, if you’re not into heart shaped pizza, just wait until the kids are in bed, take out the fondue set, open up a box of cheese fondue from the grocery store and voilà! It’s actually our favorite date-night at-home-diner. Baguette, pears, pecans, olives and some salami. You’ll be ready to eat within minutes and again, almost no clean-up!
7- Make some home-made sugar body scrub for your Galentines, mom or daughters. One cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of coconut oil, 5-10 drops of Young Living essential oil (Peppermint and Grapefruit are amazing) and a few drop of pink food colouring. Mix it up, split between small mason jar and write a little note. Super easy and fast. And great for the skin.
No matter what you do, being together is the only thing that matters. Whether you are meeting some girlfriends for drinks, skating on the canal, going out for diner, ordering heart shaped pizza, watching a movie at home, or looking at all the Valentine’s the kids brought back from school; Love is love, and it’s all you need! Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!
So are you out of your food coma yet? Have you taken all your decorations down? Does your house suddenly feels empty? Are you still in that daze where you don’t even know what day it is? Yep, that’s all signs of the end of another great holiday season.
We’ve had sooo many parties, so many dinners, so much time spent on the roads, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Just a few hours after I was officially on holidays, we had a cousins family reunion diner. My younger cousin now lives in Lake Louise and was back home for Christmas, so he got most of us to show up for a rare and fun family reunion. I don’t think I had seen him in like over 5 years. It was great catching up with him, meeting his girlfriend Kimmy, seeing everyone, as well as having the boys spending times with their second cousins from the Lamoureux family.
Then, off course, we had to hit the malls on December 22nd, running around like crazy people, just for fun, on what was probably the busiest Saturday morning of the year. I had made care packages for homeless people and got to deliver them. So hard to witness the situation in which they are, and although it wasn’t much, I could clearly see their gratitude. It does put everything in perspective. Next year, the boys will come along. They do their parts, a few times a year, I get them to select some of the toys they no longer use and we donate them, but I want them to do more. We all should. Then, later that night, we had dinner with my sister-in-law’s family at our place.
Sunday was lazy, prepping for Christmas, wrapping the leftover gifts and having way to many lattes while listening to Christmas vinyl records. Then, finally, it was Christmas Eve, and as usual, Brian took the boys to work in the morning and came back just in time for a much needed Christmas Eve nap! One of the best tradition EVER! We then drove 45 minutes to my mother-in-law’s for the most delicious Christmas fondue dinner of the year. Then, around 10pm, we headed to Brian’s dad for the Woodbury family’s ‘Réveillon’. We had a visit from Santa, live music and dancing from Brian’s aunt Lulu and uncle Bobby, then some more food and overall a lot of fun! We called it a night at 2am, drove back home and got to sleep only for a few hours before we got woken up by the boys, telling us Santa had come to our place during the night.
The boys were so excited to open their Santa’s gift, so we had a hard time finishing opening the other presents as they only wanted to play with it! Christmas morning should last forever. It’s definitely my favorite part of Christmas. The excitement, the anticipation and the hope. I wish I could bottle it up somehow. Hopefully they’ll believe in all the Christmas magic for many more years. I believed in it until I was 12, so if I’m lucky, I may get a few more years of this. I hope so.
My mom and Frank came for brunch and then the rest of our family arrived for Christmas dinner. We played some hilarious games, some less flattering than others, like how many marshmallow can you fit in your mouth! You should try it out. And let me know if you can beat 12!
The 26 was spent in our pj’s, building Legos and eating leftovers. There was the prettiest snowfall in the afternoon so we all bundled up and went for a walk. It was magical. I love lazy days like this, where we have no agendas, no places to be, and not having to dress up!
The rest of the week was spend watching movies, trying to find some boxing week sales, seeing friends and family and trying to sleep in. We also brought Liam to play his first Escape game in Montreal, an Harry Potter inspired one! He loved it! On NYE we got together with our friends and went to the Fairmont Chateau Montebello for an afternoon sleigh ride. We got lucky with the weather, not too cold, not too windy, it was simply perfect. I just love myself some sleigh rides, I find they’re the ultimate Holiday season activity. There’s something about the horses, the carriage and the sleigh bells; it gives me all the feels.
On the 1st, we got a brunch at my mom’s, then turkey dinner at Lulu’s, then on the 2nd it was another relaxing day where I went to Starbucks and then shopping while Brian and the boys spent the full day playing their new Nintendo Switch game.
And now, with just a few hours left to our holidays, we’re just trying to hang on and relax some more before it’s back to school. It was a great Holiday Season, with a few days packed with family dinners, and gatherings, and other things to do, but mostly filled with days with no plans at all, just taking naps, cooking, catching up on Netflix series, playing in the snow and sneaking in a few movies at the theatre. Hope the holidays were good to you as well and that you feel refresh for this New Years that has just begun!
Wishing you all the best for 2019 mylemondroplife friends!
In exactly one week it’s going to be Christmas Eve. How is that even possible? I’m so behind on my usual pre-Christmas blog posts; I had planned to share a Christmas recipe, some Christmas wish lists, some Christmas activities, but with one week to go, I know I won’t have time to do any of this, so I’ll combine a bit of everything in this one. I truly wish I had more time, but between our school and the boys’ school events, the Christmas shows, all the baking, gifts wrapping, sneaking a movie night to watch Mary Poppins, a family cousins reunion AND the actual Christmas festivities, not sure how I will ever survive this next week! But even with all that, I’m still the most excited one in this household! I just LOVE Christmas! And here’s a little recap of what we’ve been up to the last couple of days.
Picking our Christmas Tree: The official opening of the holiday season always starts with the cutting of our tree at Ian’s Christmas Tree Farm. I’ve already shared with you how big of a deal our tree is, and you can read more about our magical tree tradition here. Let’s just say this year didn’t go according to plan. It had snowed a few days before, it was beautiful outside, the weather was great, we were 11 of us crammed into 3 cars, but once out there in the field, we couldn’t find a tree we would agree on. We walked and walked and walked some more, but nothing, nada, zero. All of them too small, or too big. After searching for the perfect one for over an hour and a half, we finally placed the bag under the magic tree, the boys found it, they were happy, we pretended to cut it and hitched a ride on the wagon to go back (actually without a tree). So while we were having hot dogs, maple fudge and brownies by the outside fire pit, Brian picked up a pre-cut one! Only once we had already paid and wrapped up the tree we were told we were actually in the wrong field. Well, you just watch me next year, Clark Griswold will eat his heart out when he sees my perfect tree. After that, we all came back home for some drinks, pasta diner and to decorate the tree. All in all, we didn’t cut it ourselves, but our tree still looks beautiful and smells wonderful, which is all that matters.
Christmas Party number 1:
We’ve had our annual friends Christmas party ever since I can remember, and for the last 5 or 6 years, we’ve been hiring a chef to cook for us, at home, and it’s been amazing. But this year, our chef double-booked the date and we were left with no one with about two weeks’ notice. So at the last minute, we all decided that each couple would be responsible to take care of one service. And it turned out to be amazing! Saved us a ton of money and the food was delicious. Vero and Mat have the greatest basement for parties like this, with mirrors and lights and loud speakers and a dancing floor, so let’s just say that the next morning was rough for a few of us who drank and danced too much! I just think there may be a little less Tequila involved next year, or so I’ve heard. But we had so much fun, as always, and I can’t wait for next year’s party already.
I love the Nutcracker. We saw the new movie a few weeks ago and Liam loved it so much that when a young girl from my school was chosen to take part in the ballet, I knew we had to go. So last week, Liam and I added the Nutcracker Ballet to our list of Christmas things to do. On Thursday night, we skipped the school homework and went to see the show. It truly puts you in the Christmas spirit and I was so proud to cheer on Victoria. She was wonderful to watch, and Liam and I just loved the entire thing, as it was beautiful and so well done.
Christmas Parties 2, 3 and 4:
Last weekend was filled to the brim with activities. First, Friday night was my workplace party at my co-worker’s new house. Well, now I have severe house envy. Well, how could I not? She has a dream kitchen, PLUS a stage (well, an open staircase that looks like a stage) where I came up with a singing/lipsing performance! The games were hilarious, I will definitely plan games like these for Christmas Day at our house. Family, beware and be ready! After my work thing, I drove back-and-forth to the other side of Ottawa to pick up Brian who was at another Christmas party at his friend’s house… so by the time I went to bed it was pretty late! And then Saturday morning I was up early to get everything ready in time as I was hosting family members for diner. We don’t see each other enough, but we do this every year now and we always have a great time. I really love this new tradition of ours. This year was no different. My aunt, uncle and the boys all played a few songs on the piano. We shared old and new stories. The boys saw their baby cousin Evely, who is definitely one of the best dressed toddler ever! And then, on Sunday morning, we drove to Brian’s dad to get the house ready for the Christmas Eve Woodbury family ‘Réveillon’. So while Brian, his brother and his sister were picking up and decorating the tree and the house, I decided to cook my Christmas ‘boulettes’ for the 24th midnight lunch; at least one thing to check off my list, finally!
It’s going to be a busy week, but it’s one of the best week of the year, as this is what it’s all about: gatherings, reminiscing, spending time with the people that matters, with all the love, the bickering and the dirty dishes in between! Christmas would definitely not be the same without all the craziness that comes with it. So, no more complaining about everything I have left to do before December 24th, and I will enjoy each day to the fullest and I’ll catch up on sleep sometime in the new year! Cheers my friends, and have fun, and be safe, hoping the next few weeks are filled with Christmas magic for all of you, as we all deserve some of it this time of year. I wish you all the best Holiday Season possible. Merry Christmas.