and the boxes go to…

I do love to share things on social media and also to enter all sort of contests, but boy oh boy am I bad at my own giveaways!!! But I finally got around picking out the 3 winners of the Good Food boxes (two weeks later than I had originally promise!). So here they are:

Box #1 goes to Melanie Lecompte. Such a great friend and one of my favorite traveling partner! Wish we would see more of each other and I can’t wait for our next road trip!

Box #2 goes to Jo-Anne Poirier, my mom’s cousin from Sault Sainte Marie. I had severe hair envy growing up because she had the most amazing, waist long, hair. I wanted my frizzy hair to look just like hers!

Box #3: goes to Mireille Ladouceur, Liam’s school friend’s mom that I met last year. She sells Norwex, so if you need awesome environment friendly cleaning product, she’s your girl!

So I hope you all get to enjoy your free meals soon! Let me know how it goes. And thank you to everyone who participated in this giveaway! You are all so amazing helping me promote my blog. Keep on sharing my lemon drop life friends!

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a few rounds of maple taffy

I think I’m might still be on some sort of sugar rush a week later, but I’m proud to say that I have survived two visits to the sugar shack in two days (it is not recommended to do this at home!). If you’ve read my last post you know that I had planned two trips to the sugar shack last weekend, and these two trips ended up being two completely different experiences, both being such a big hit! I got to say that I did have to pace and control myself with all the delicious food that was putted right in front of me, yeah, well, I pace myself yet I did end up trying everything at least once!

On Friday night, my friends and I took a ride on the ferry and drove to the Sorcier golf club in what ended up being a really bad April snow storm! Their club house and the golf course was covered with snow, but I kinda hate golf, so I actually thought it was just beautiful; on the other hand, the boys were quite sad that they couldn’t see the green grass everywhere! Their club house is now a well-known restaurant called Le Rituel which offers food all year round; and then from the beginning of March till the end a April, the club house becomes a sugar shack with an urban twist/feel to it. We went four years ago and since then we’ve been talking about it and been trying to go back with some of our friends. So when my friend Vero texted me a few weeks ago, we made plans right away, got babysitters for our kids (all the grandma) and we all squeezed into a car and made our way over there.

So we get there and the place was packed. We sat, got our drinks, and then waited for the food to start coming. It’s a set menu and we got to try food we had never had. And so much of it! My favs were the parsnip and celeriac soup, kale and apple salad, the homemade bread and maple chipotle butter and the short ribs, with an honorable mention to the Pogo de Cochonne! Oh, and let’s not forget about the dessert: fresh maple donuts with soft meringue. Oh my god, these were simply just so like amazingly delicious! Actually, everything they serve is nicely displayed and our server was just so nice. Overall, great experience, nothing like your usual sugar shack, but so worth the try. It was fun going out and having a great time with our best friends. After that, we all ended up at our place, having some more drinks, going to bed way past our bedtime (while our kids didn’t), which made the 6:30 wake-up call a bit less sweet!

Our Saturday started very slowly, lounging in our pj’s and watching movies for most of the morning. We had a light lunch, a nap (of course) and then we drove back to our hometown. It was time for round 2 of sugar shacking! If you want to have the best sugar shack atmosphere ever, Sucrerie de la Montagne is THE place to go. My brother-in-law’s father Simon works there, so we had a behind the scene tour which was great to learn about the place and also to take some awesome pictures. We got a horse wagon ride, we got to visit where they boil the maple water, and also the bakery… I wish I could live there as the smell of a thousand freshly baked bread is just something I would like to wake up to every morning, even at 6:30 am! And oh yeah, they do bake 1000 breads daily! So with all the bread everywhere, I couldn’t resist and brought some home. Let me tell you that the freshly baked bread with Nutella was simply to die for the next morning!!!

It was a bit cold, but the sun was out a little so we were able to spend some time outside enjoying the awesome view! Maybe because we were with someone who works there, but we had the best tables in the house; right in front of the band! We were also treated to music made with spoons from Frank and Simon… yeah, my mom’s husband grew up being best friend to my brother in law’s father… that’s how we do in small towns! So they grew up together and apparently they’ve learned how to play spoon together as well because they had the same technique and they were both equally spectacular following the bands’ rhythm, sometime outplaying them! No, the band was awesome. So entertaining. I would go back just for the show! So we watched them play for a good hour after we were finished with our great traditional sugar shack dinner, then Simon sang a couple of folk songs, then some more folk from the band, and then it was time to go as we had closed the place down!

So let’s just say that we didn’t eat anything sweet on Sunday or even this week. I did manage to go out to get grocery for the week on Sunday, but that was it! Really fun weekend overall.

And now, it’s finally time for Spa Weekend with the girls, so I know what I will talk about next week!

Hope you have a great weekend everyone; if you’re looking for a place to get your sugar fix, you should definitely hit one of the places we tried, you will not be disappointed. But hurry up, as maple season is almost over. Have a great one and cheers to finally a long and relaxing weekend!

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easter

A week later, I’d say that we’re still recovering from Easter weekend and ALL the food we ate… and a new weekend just begun where we have two trips scheduled to the Sugar Shack!!! Omg, if I die this weekend, I will definitely not die hungry.

So last weekend was a rough one… and not because of over-excited kids due to chocolate cause they barely ate any! Nope, it was just an exhausting, but still fun, long weekend. I am just glad I had Monday off!

Like I mentioned in my last post, we have LOTS of traditions on Easter weekend. We always over-schedule and forget to include quiet and nap time. Well, this year was no different! It all started on Good Friday when we left the house to go shopping in Montréal. We dropped the kids at my Mom’s, pick-up Jojo and headed to Montréal for brunch and shopping. We (well I), had plan to have brunch at Café Ricardo, truly the highlight of my weekend!!! What a beautiful place. Bright, beautifully decorated and a dessert show-case to make you drool. And that, we did! I could talk about the place for hours… everything matches, the color scheme is dreamy and the food was visually perfect and so tasteful. Wish I live closer, but I`ve heard through the vines that Ottawa may get their own Café Ricardo in 2019. If that happens, I want a membership card or something. So sign me up, buttercup!

We then ventured to the shopping part of our trip. Browsed through the Ricardo boutique, bought some cute stuff while coming out with a long wish list. Then, like everyone else in town, we headed out to the shopping mall. So crowded, so loud, so many people, at that point, I regretted not sleeping in and staying home that morning! Did manage to buy a few things but we were all too tired to kept on shopping. So we drove back to our hometown, picked-up the boys and headed to the annual Good Friday fish/egg/fries/poutine but NO meat diner at Lulu’s! Not sure when was the last time we had so much fun… we played a music game and let’s just say the competition was extreme… but my team won and we had a blast, so that’s all that counts!!!! Got home so late, with my three companions sleeping most of the way back, then unloaded the car and past out for a few hours.

But for a second off day in a row, there was no sleeping in for us… a bright and early Easter Egg Hunt was waiting for the boys (that I had planned the night before at 12:30 am). There`s something sooo exciting and fun about cheap plastic colored eggs! The kids love it, and I love it… so we opted to give the boys a bit of money instead of chocolate or candy and they were quite excited about it, and didn’t lost any time to put it in their own piggy bank for our next trip! Then they received their actual Easter basket, stocked with pj’s, books, bubbles and treats. The boys spent a few hours playing Egg Hunt on their own, which was so fun to watch. I swore to them and I’ll swear to you that I had hidden the same number of eggs for both of them, yet, Logan got 9 and Liam got 10. That created a bit of chaos, but in the end, we gave him the extra loonie since it’s all going in the same pot; our Disney Cruise pot!

We later left home and drove to the Beau’s All-Natural Brewery to fill-up Brian’ own Easter basket with his own favorite treats, and then headed out to my Mom’s for dinner; which turned out to be quite the evening actually! Logan is obsessed playing bingo, and yes, we played all evening long. Let’s just say that if you combine bingo and beers, it ends up as being an extremely hilarious game! We laugh so much and in the end, we even all won prizes! My mom has bought a lots of toys from the dollar store to give out as prizes for bingo games with the kids, but this time around, knowing she’d be playing with grown-ups as well, she had bought some stuff for adults too… so we all ended up winning some oven mitts, which made up for some splendid Instagram live stories we all want to forget! Once the kids were in bed, Brit, Alyssa, Brian and I ended up in the spa for what seem to be like a good two hours, right before ordering pizza at midnight… probably not the best idea but it was for sure a delicious one! Let’s just say Easter Sunday was rough for a few of us… yeah, Brian’s Easter basket was all empty by the morning!

We did manage to have a loud and crazy brunch with all the grandkids reunited… sugar was still running high while patience was starting to run low. We all survived and then packed up the car, made another stop at Lulu’s, then at Pépère’s, and then at my mother-in-law for our annual chicken and ribs Easter dinner. Great dinner, great time, but after three days on the go, I couldn’t wait to be back home and enjoy a long night sleep in my own bed with finally a chance to sleep in.

Monday was for pajama’s, movies, naps, while also hiding all the chocolate we had brought home. Made zero attempt to get anything done beside meals and I was ok with that!

So now, we are all impatiently waiting for spring to arrive, trying not to eat the hidden chocolate… so this week, I got the boys registered for soccer and swim lessons, while waiting for the next long weekend, which for me happens to be next weekend… as I am leaving home for 4 days for our annual girls’ spa weekend getaway! But first, let’s start by enjoying this weekend. Hope it’s a good one for you too my friends!

 

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somebunny is ready for easter

If you’re like me, you probably have tons of activities and brunches and dinners scheduled this weekend! Traditions, traditions and some more traditions for Easter weekend!

It will all start with our annual shopping day in Montreal with Jojo, followed by a fish filled dinner at Brian’s aunt Lulu (no fish for me but extra poutine please!) for Good Friday. Then we have our Easter egg hunt on Saturday morning… like most of you with kids! We will then have brunch at my Mom’s on Sunday followed by our usual and traditional Chicken n’ Ribs dinner at my mother-in-law’s… yummy, like simply delicious! It’s always such a great weekend for us, filled with family time and good food. If you ever find some spare time this weekend, I’ve got one more thing for you to add to your list: go see a movie! Yes, the Peter Rabbit movie!

We went to see Peter Rabbit at the movies back in February and we’ll definitely try to squeeze another viewing this weekend. I can’t remember when was the last time we all laugh this much! This movie is hilarious, emotional, fun and adorable. If you’d ask Liam about the movie, he’d tell you right away that this is the funniest movie ever. Of course we had to find the stuffed animal version of Peter Rabbit after we saw the movie… and guess what, it wasn’t too hard to find as they NOW sell these right there at the theatre… so we got out of the movie and a minute later my stuffed-animal-obsessed kids saw the Peter Rabbit stuffed animal display… yep, they both got one! But they were so cute, I didn’t mind, and I almost got one for myself!

So of course when we came back home we had to celebrate our love for rabbits, so just like any normal family, we had a Peter Rabbit Day the following day! My kids REALLY love when we have themed days, and so do I. Like last weekend, we had a McQueen Sunday; you know, they woke up and decided that today was all about McQueen. So I went along and organized a Cars day; nothing fancy, but we wore our Cars’ t-shirts all day, played with our Cars’ toys, watched the last movies with Cruz Ramirez and Jackson Storm (once more!!!), made some crafts with Cars stickers and had a lot of fun!

So for our PR Day we made carrot soup, carrot muffins, individual veggies and dips, and then we ate mini chocolate bunnies! I’ve also tried to make -for the first time- some bunny shaped cream puffed filled with ice cream and drizzled with milk chocolate! Hummmm… hello delicious rabbit, I could easily eat ten of you! You can find the recipe in Ricardo’s latest magazine and on his website. Much easier to do than I thought it would be, and so so good! I will be making this recipe again and again from now on! You should really try to make some this weekend. One recipe and endless possibilities; but the bunny shape stole my heart!

So I hope you get to spend time with your loved ones this weekend. Whatever you do, make time to enjoy life and each other. Eat lots of chocolate and go see the Peter Rabbit movie! Hoppy Easter my lemon drop life disciples (hope I didn’t offend anyone with that one!).

 

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fill up those easter baskets

It’s FINALLY Spring and Easter is just around the corner! So bring me all the floral, pastel and cute bunny stuff you can find. I’ve got a bunny-obsessed little boy over here and he’s been waiting for our annual Easter egg hunt in what seems like forever. I’ve never pretended there was actually a real Easter Bunny, they perfectly know I’m the one who hides the goodies, and I am okay with that, and I am pretty sure they are okay as well! So we never had that crazy picture of our kids crying while sitting on an plush costume covered person for Easter (yet, I took many many pictures of everything else Easter related, though!).

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been searching for the perfect treats to give the boys for Easter, and I can’t help but to share with you what I’ve found. I also found some stuff for the men in your life, and of course, for yourself as well! So let’s start with the shop hunt!

1. Snuggle Bunny Wrap: If you have a baby, PLEASE buy this and send me all the pictures… Wish I had this when the boys were babies… my ovaries are crying over this!

2. Kids Bunny Reading Socks: So I’m still obsessed with reading socks… I only have a pair myself and now I totally have to get these for the boys basket. They are the softest and comfiest reading socks in the world. I promise.

3. Flower Hair Pins: For the little girls in your life, these are the prettiest! Pretty sure some adults could pull them off too!

4. Starbucks Stanley Mug: This would be a great find for any coffee lover in your life. You could also add a small gift card or make a coffee related basket. Coffee beans, dollar store hand painted mugs by the kids, special raw sugar and a cute Lindt Gold Chocolate Bunny!

5. Sweet Bake Shop: This one, well I really hope it ends up in my basket! I’ve been following Tessa’s journey on Instagram and I’m in love with everything she does. Hope I could recreate 5% of what she does! She’s amazing.

6. Dash Rapid Egg Cooker: I might have to by myself this item. First of all, the colour is fabulous, and how cute would it be to cook eggs in this thing? I go through like 18 eggs a week for egg salad sandwiches for the lunches, so this would probably be the smartest investment of the year! Plus, the kids could also decorate some warm eggs with wax crayons I’ve been eyeing on Pinterest and then eat them. Food and craft, perfect mix for keeping them entertained for a while and then feeding them!

7. Pom Pom Throw: So now that the eggs are cooking in my new Dash Rapid Egg Cooker, I now have more time to wrap myself in this gorgeous blush coloured throw blanket, sit on the couch and possibly take a nap. Honestly, can one have too many blankets? Just need to have a pretty large Easter basket to fit this gift into!

8. Bunnies by the Bay: My fav bunny. My Logan’s bunny. Logan received his first Bunnies by the Bay bunny on his first Easter. We now have 3 (bought five, lost two). Not sure how he could survive even one day without his Bunnies. Love everything from this company. Go check them out, all their stuff is pretty amazing!

Another must for all the Easter baskets I will be making is some delicious chocolate from Chocolats Favoris. I am not sure if you still remember our artsy Easter chocolate decorating afternoon we had last year; well the boys do, and they still talk about how fun it was. So I will get them some more chocolate as well as a few paint brushes so they can decorate their own treat again! You still have time to buy yours from their website, but hurry!

Let’s hope the weather warms up soon so we can get to play outside during Easter weekend; as egg hunting is so much more fun outside! Hope you found a bit of eggspiration with my list; so happy shopping and happy springtime my friends!

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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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