you’ve been booed plus a long weekend

Well, it’s been one of those week, or I should say month… as last Sunday I was hit with a second strep throat virus in less than 3 weeks. And this time it really kicked my ass. Let’s just say that the back-to-school-thing is rough this year. I’m happy that the kids are doing great in their new classes with their new teachers, but since I’ve already been sick twice, it hasn’t been as easy as anticipated. And although they normally understand that when Maman is sick they kind of have to leave me alone to rest a while, this time I almost lost it when, in the middle of a nap, I woke up, and we were 4 in my bed with everybody talking at the same time and jumping all around… that’s when I said to myself… why aren’t the meds stronger?!!! Yeah, well, just kidding; I guess.

So finally, by Friday night, I was feeling better, and while alone with the boys for the evening, I had a great idea for us. I’ve read about ‘Being Booed’ last year and decided to find out a bit more about it. “You’ve been BOOED” is a fun, festive and friendly way of doing the old “Knock and Run”! So I explained to the boys that we we’re going to do some fun Halloween filled baskets for our friends and leave them on their doorway, ring the bell, and then run away. And they LOVED it!

So as soon as we came back from school, they unpacked their backpack and then we made our way to Wal-Mart to get some Halloween baskets and treats. They spent lots of time picking out what their friends would like and what movie they wanted to give them. We found 5$ Halloween movies… hummmm, yeah, definitely a great find for our baskets! Bags of mini-chocolate bars and candies made filling our baskets quite easy.

Back home we unpacked everything we had bought, then wrote a little note to our friends explaining the process of being booed. The best part in my opinion is that our friends now have 2 days to deliver another basket to 2 other families. So it’s like the best kind of Halloween chain, ever!

Each boy chose a family, filled their basket with a Halloween movie, popcorn, candy, mini-chocolate bars, fun straws, glow sticks and more treats. They made sure they had enough lollipops for each kids in that family, so they wouldn’t fight. I love their little big hearts!

Once the baskets were filled, we hopped in the car and drove to our friends house. We pretended we were ghost-spies delivering treats. The boys were so stressed about being seen, it was hilarious. Logan was the first to deliver his package; climbed up the steps and placed the baskets on the doorstep, rang the bell and ran away like he had just robbed a bank. I should have made a video, it was so funny. Honestly, I don’t even think our friends were home but I’m not letting him know about that! Next turn, Liam. My little shy boy, who kept on saying “they will see me, I know they will see me” and then was giggling the entire time he was delivering his basket. He was crawling, made his way along the parking lot, climbed on the porch from the side of the house and then rang the bell. Poor little thing, so scared of getting caught… never seen him run so fast. I had park the car strategically so our friends couldn’t see it; and while we were waiting by the side of their house we heard their little excited and happy voices while they were opening their surprise package. It was Priceless! We jumped in the car, screamed of happiness that we had made it and succeeded at being ghost-spies… It was so much fun, next time we will be booing our neighbours! The boys felt so special doing this for their friends. So I hope you’ll Boo your friends too! It’s so much fun, and not just for the kids!!

On Saturday, we dropped the boys with their grandma for a family Thanksgiving dinner and sleepover while we attended my cousin Lydia’s wedding. We had a great time, ate tons of food and danced until every inch of my body was aching. She looked like a mystic princess, and for the first time EVER, I assisted a bride in cutting her wedding gown so she could dance more freely! Yep, while standing up on a chair, her mom cut her gown knee-high with a pair of scissor!

On Sunday we had a wedding brunch and then the boys proceeded to play with the wedding photo booth props (Mario Bros style). They were over the moon, and lucky them, my cousin told them they could bring it all back home! Then it was nap time for myself, golf for Brian, and finally a birthday/Thanksgiving dinner at aunt Lulu.

Oh how I love long weekends… so on Monday morning we stayed in our pj’s until noon, the boys played Super Mario while I watched some more Harry Potter and worked on the kids Halloween costumes (these will be my favorite homemade costumes ever) with a Fall scented candle burning while eating candies and those mini chip bags that are so addictive! Finally got all dressed up in something else than a pj and drove to my Mom’s for a second Thanksgiving dinner, watched the Red Sox game, made fun of Brian for being a little grumpy after they had lost, ate too much pie and got home extra tired.

Hope you had a great time with your families, I’m so thankful for mine, and for the 4-day week ahead!

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the great pumpkin

One of the best thing about blogging has to be the people you meet and the friends you make through the blog. You know, I’m really just doing this just for the fun of sharing our everyday adventures with everyone, but sometimes along the way, some of my readers reach out to me with questions, or for some help with a project or just for fun stuff they want to share with me, and I just love to hear what you girls have to say and respond to each of you.

So that’s how I came up with this weekend’s activity; as Nathalie, one of mylemondroplife follower, sent me a message a week ago to tell me about that pumpkin place I had to visit. I was really excited to hear about this, so I looked it up online and as soon as I opened their website I knew I’d love it and wanted to go right away. So this immediately became my priority #1 for the weekend. Hum, hello, do I want to spend the first weekend of October in a pumpkin fields, oh yes I do!

Came Saturday morning, I was so excited, and ready fairly early, but the boys had in mind to spend the day in their pj. Sorry to disappoint you guys, but this is pumpkin day, and ready or not, you are all coming with me anyway! Sometime it’s hard with the boys to get them excited with things like that… most of the times they end up having a blast, but it often starts with a little crisis at home before we leave. So we finally got all dressed up and left for Gatineau where we we’re going to “pumpkin heaven” I told them. Even that did not get anyone excited, except for myself! It’s no surprise for anyone anymore how much I love this season; you know, give me a cozy sweater or a blanket, a hot tea and some Fall scented candle and I’m a happy girl.

We’ve visited a few pumpkin patch over the years, some maybe a little expensive, or just too big, we even visited a pumpkin patch that ended up being a farmer’s field where they had dropped pumpkin so the kids would believe they were picking their own… well not this time, this weekend I was expecting something simple, gorgeous, with no fuss, where you can have a great time while picking up your own pumpkin. And Courges & Cie was just that; and even better. From the moment I saw the place from far away I knew this was going to be my new favorite early October place. Dirt road, a beautiful barn, a field filled with the most perfect pumpkins and squash; I was in love with the place in an instant.

So we got out of the car and the boys could hardly kept still. They were so excited! Finally!!! You know this exact moment when you just want to tell them: “you see, I told you!!!”, but what’s the point. Instead I started to take some pictures while Brian went to get one of the many wheel barrels that were lined up right there for us to use. We went directly to the pumpkin patch across the road and the pumpkins were everywhere. They were all so pretty. Some huge ones, some small ones, there were some of all sizes and shapes. Honestly, I think I’ve seen the prettiest pumpkin ever, but it may have been just a little too big! But sooo pretty, with a perfect shape and the most perfect stem. Now while writing this I kinda regret not bringing it home where it belongs!!!

There were so many nice ones that we could have picked up the first couple we saw but decided to walk further down the field and let the boys find their favorite one. We didn’t know we needed cutters but found a small pocket knife in the car and it worked just fine. Logan picked a huge one while Liam found a small green pumpkin that had not ripen up, and just like that we were all very happy. The boys took turns for a short ride in the wheel barrel, I took some more pictures and then we made our way into the green house. I had never seen so many squashes. All beautifully displayed with a sign explaining where they come from, how to use them and so much more, and then I found a pink pumpkin. Hello luv, where have you been all my life!?!

We settled on picking pumpkins and buying the squashes from the green house, but you can also pick out the squashes. As well as tomatoes. Just so you know!

Once we were done, we stopped at their cute little outside kitchen where they serve French Fried Squash. So so so delicious. Honestly, you can’t go to Courges & Cie and not try the French Fried Squash. And also their donuts. The boys had 2 each. They were sooo good. Only got a bite, but next year, I’m buying one and then I’ll hide. That’s my plan!

So, for the next couple of weeks, Courges & Cie will be opened every weekend and you should definitely make the time to visit. It was clearly one of the best Fall outing I’ve had in years. I’m glad the boys loved it because we’ll be visiting again for sure, as Pumpkin Day at Courges & Cie is now an official yearly family thing.

Happy October 1st my friends, officially time to buy pumpkins!

 

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beau’s oktoberfest 2017

Well, just like that, the best-weekend-of-the-year is now gone. But luckily, we are left with tons of pictures and memories that will keep us going until next year! Yep, Beau’s Oktoberfest 2017 was just as awesome as expected (but way HOTTER than any other Fall activities I’ve ever attended to!).

When I was younger, I spent a few Thanksgivings at my mom’s cousin in Kitchener. My uncle used to volunteer at the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest and got to bring us with him on many occasions. I remember watching the parades, the enormous beer tents, many dressed up old man with lederhosen and the cutest mascot. A few years ago, I decided to bring Brian to Kitchener to witness this amazing party that is spread over 2 weeks. Hello amazing! Two weeks of Oktoberfest festivities, that is just crazy, right? Well, we had so much fun back then; Brian was really into it, and bought a hat, and some pins, and wanted to go back every year to celebrate… but you know what, who needs to drive that far to have beers in huge steins with thousands of others when you can do it next to your hometown!

So, for those who weren’t there, or those who missed it, or those who didn’t know that this was happening last weekend (although this is almost impossible now, given that my social medias were just flooded with pictures from people at Oktoberfest all weekend long), here’s what you guys missed.  So for the last 9 years, Beau’s All-Natural Brewery has been hosting their own two-day Oktoberfest event in the quaint village of Vankleek Hill, with music, local restaurants vendors, over 60 type of craft beers and all sorts of friendly competition and midway games. This year there was even a Ferris Wheel on site. Although you can’t really compare Kitchener and VKH or the two festivals, this one is a special one, and I got to admit that for me, Beau’s Oktoberfest is just the best party ever!

It was our 3rd year attending the festivities and we still just love to be there as much every time. It is clearly our favorite weekend of the year. I’m thinking of doing an advent calendar or something like that for next year, it’s that exciting! I go for spending time with family and friends, for the AMAZING food we get to try and discover, and for cheering with our community. Brian goes for the beer! Oh, and also for the small stage with the skate park… as every year I lose him for like an hour only to find him back in front of the Black Forest stage listening to music and artist he has never heard of.

So this year, I’ve left work early on Friday, we dropped off the boys at my mom and then left with my step-dad for Vankleek Hill. We later met with friends and with Brian’s cousin and her niece. We tasted beers and then had the most delicious cheese raclette and the BEST chocolate frozen treat from Pascale’s Ice Cream; we’ve then cheered for our friend Carlo during the Keg Toss competition; and then closed the place down and went home for a nap before going back at it on Saturday!

My grandma Lamoureux traveled the world (lucky her) and had brought back (like 30 years ago) lederhosen for my brother. My mom kept these type of amazing souvenirs and I was so excited the day I found it stored in a box in her basement. I’ve been dressing the boys in them for the last 3 years. So, since I take full advantage of every opportunity I get to dress up the boys, we bought a second pair of lederhosen, got them some tickets and brought them over with us on Saturday morning. They were sooo adorable! They got to play at Kinderfest, eat treats and made plenty of cheers… just like their dad, well kind of, with Iced Tea filled cup instead of beer! Their favorite part had to be the Midway games. They loved the throwing-jar-lids-around-beer-bottles game, then played Bumper’s Crop Plinko (my fav), and finally won a Beau’s frisbee. We then sent them off with my sister-in-law for one last camping trip while we kept on partying! Thanks Annick, you’re the best!

So this year Oktoberfest was in September… and it was not Fall weather at all.  In fact, the heat was unbearable. We were lucky enough to find a table in the shade for our group where once in a while we would feel the breeze. We had a rotation going on where one of us would go get the beer, the other one water, and then another one the food. I won’t rate the beer as I didn’t try any, but since I love food, especially Oktoberfest kind of food, here’s my three way tie for the most delicious food at this year Beau’s Oktoberfest:

Cheshire Cat Pub for the all-time best Reuben sandwich I’ve ever tasted;

Meule et Caquelon for the raclette trio plate… cheese is ALWAYS a winner in my book, and this was simply delicious. We’ve actually had it on Friday and then again on Saturday; and

Pascale’s Ice Cream Malted Choco Beer Nut Dip Bar… and I won’t lie, just like the cheese raclette, I couldn’t stop at one for this one either… I had 3. And then when I went for a last one, well sadly for me, they were sold out!!!

I went there with a list of 10 things I wanted to try and tried them all! Overall, all the food I’ve tried or my friends Vero and Karine tried was all so delicious… yeah, they couldn’t order anything without me tasting it… but sorry girls, I have a blog (yep, that’s my excuse now!). Same for the beer, they were all very good, and the reason why I know that, well by the look of things, I’d say that Brian and his friend Mathieu have tried every beer on tap this weekend, every time coming back with a different one saying how nice and tasty it was. They actually drank a lot of water and were still presentable by the end of the day! Hats off guys, I clearly underestimated you both at some point when it was like 40 degrees outside with 5 more hours to go!

The Saturday festivities finished just before 9 for us, while all heading to good old Miss Hawkesbury for pizza, poutine and some tequila shots. Yep… while I went to the washroom, Brian and the girls had the genius idea to order Tequila shots at Miss… very classy! We also had an after party at my Mom’s with some very memorable scenes, including one where Brian showed us why he should be considered a serious contender for next year Oktoberfest Beer Stein holding competition! He did last for over 5 minutes, but hopefully he has already forgot about it by now. If not, I will laugh my ass off next year and will be posting a picture of it here for sure!!!

So this year’s Oktoberfest is over, and it was a memorable one. We took so many pictures and did so many cheers, and that’s what it’s all about! Good friends, good times, good beers, and great food! There were a lot of people celebrating Oktoberfest this weekend, but Beau’s (and Vankleek Hill) always make it feel like this is just a huge friendly gathering and I hope this will never change.

So when Brian asked me on our way back home on Sunday morning if we could go again on both days next year, I could see that he was feeling kinda blue that it was all over, but my answer cheered him up: ‘don’t worry, cause we’ll never miss one day of Oktoberfest, ever’.

Thanks to Beau’s, and to the volunteers, and to the Vankleek Hill and surrounding community for the amazing weekend… we’re already counting the days till next year! Prost!

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31 ways to celebrate fall

So by now you probably know that I’m a crazy person comes October; but even if I try, I just can’t help it! October means it’s ALMOST Halloween, and yep, that gets me sooo excited!!! And when comes Halloween, I want people around me to be excited as well.  So this year I’ve created a fun and exciting to-do list (hello checkmarks!) for the 31 days of October for you and your family.

It’s not a calendar, nor something you have to do every day (but you CAN if you’re even more into this than I am!!!); it’s just fun little ways to incorporate Fall into your daily life and spreading PSL (Pumpkin Spice Love!). So grab a pen and write these down.

31 ways to celebrate Fall

1- Buy festive PJ’s… hum hello… you should clearly do this for EVERY holiday!

2- Make scary pizza. As you know, pizza is my number one go to themed fun food.  See the pictures of the fun pizzas I’ve made over the weekend.

3- Visit a pumpkin patch.

4- Decorate your house.  And buy mini-pumpkins for the family rooms and fall garlands for the beds.

5- Buy a new cozy scarf.  Find someone who needs to spoil you… or just do it yourself!

6- Watch Hocus Pocus… kinda cheated… as I’ve been watching it since early September.

7- Make homemade costume. My husband would surely like to cross that one off that list; as it’s been costume central in the entire kitchen for the last few weeks!

8- Jump in a pile of leaves… you’re never too old.

9- Make this French Onion Soup recipe.

10- Go on a hike to enjoy the Autumn leaves color.

11- Carve pumpkins and roast pumpkin seeds.

12- Buy a Pumpkin Spice Latte for a friend.

13- Buy a Fall scented candle.

14- Visit a corn maze!

15- Make a pumpkin spice loaf.

16- Go to an Oktoberfest party… of course we have our tickets for this weekend Beau’s Oktoberfest!

17- Wear Uggs… not going to wear mine this weekend at Beau’s Oktoberfest; supposed to be something like 40 degrees out there!

18- Sit outside and read a book or magazine with a warm blanket.

19- Watch football with a bowl of chili.

20- Buy yourself some Fall flowers.

21- Visit a Farmers Market.

22- Watch Baseball playoff and sing Sweet Caroline. Yeah, I’m a Red Sox fan!  Go Sox!

23- Watch Nightmare Before Christmas.

24- Have a Fall picnic.

25- Watch Casper… still remember when I saw that movie at 12 years old… God I was in love with Devon Sawa!

26- Make pretzel… this recipe is awesome. Will probably make it on a Red Sox game day.

27- Do a Halloween craft with the kids.

28- Go horseback riding.  That is just so much fun.

29- Make candy apples.  The kids will love it!

30- Organize or go to an Halloween party!

31- Trick or Treat.

Hope this list inspires you to be festive this season. I know I’ve got plenty lined up for the next month… It’s on the list, but don’t do this just once; and enjoy as many pumpkin flavored anything as you can!!! It’s only here for a few weeks! So we may see each other at Starbucks in the coming weeks!

Happy Fall and Prost y’all.

 

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camp woods part II

Since this week will probably be one of the nicest we’ve had all summer, I think it’s a perfect timing for sharing the last few weeks of Camp Woods Summer 2017! In all honesty, and we probably all feel the same way here, even if I go back in memories, as far as I can remember, summer 2017 was definitely one of the worst summer ever. It feels like it rained basically every day, with everything outside being wet all the time, making it so difficult to plan ahead for a full day of activities, and apparently making it even more difficult for Brian to cut the grass weekly! Oh well.  Still, I got to say that I did enjoy my time off, but it feels like there were no memorable pool days or parties, and only a few bouncy-castle-day-out in the backyard, with everything depending on my weather network app while always waiting for the next sunny day to come by; and like I said, there was not a lot of them (but that didn’t stop us from having fun!!!).

Like I’ve explain before in Camp Woods 2016 and Camp Woods part 1 of 2017, I try to find activities that will interest the boys, as well as myself, with a theme, an outings or with meals. Early during my last week before I went back to work, Liam decided to join me in watching Harry Potter. I always knew he would love it but I wasn’t sure it was aged appropriate. But as I was watching the first movie, one morning while cooking, he joined me in the kitchen and sat on the counter and he was immediately glued right there. I changed the language to French for him (outch! so funny in French!) and explained that it was just a story, that everybody were friends in real life by showing him some pictures of the actors from the net, while making sure he understood as the story unfolded. So our last theme week was Harry Potter and just like that, a new addict was born!  Probably one of my favorite week ever, well, right behind the countdown-to-Disneyland-week we had last year, as nothing won’t probably ever beat that!

Since that last week off at home watching the movies coincided with the Harry Potter 20th anniversary, well, of course we made a cake! Just like the one Hagrid brings to Harry. Also made notebooks themed after every houses, of course I’m Gryffindor!  Oh, AND wands!  We had a blast making them; with chopsticks, glue gun and paint! Done within minutes and hours of fun. Of course, there is the occasional eye poke, but mostly, I was turned into a frog by one and then into a flower by the other!

We also had to have a Moana week. That movie, let me tell you, AMAZING, both for adults and kids. If you haven’t seen it with your kids yet, do it now! The soundtrack is just awesome, and it’s still is even after you’ve listened to it a 1000 times. We made Kakamora from real coconuts. They’ve learned how to open coconuts to release the water; and they do NOT like coconut water!!! So once empty, we painted faces on them and glued arms and legs. So fun to make. We found the cutest free Pinterest Moana Bingo and played so many games. And then we got dress up… I had to be Moana! Liam Pua and Loggy was Hey-Hey! Made leis out of ferns and flowers from our backyard. It was awesome… all that was missing was the ocean!

We had another Nemo week this year; but what can I say, we just love the movies so much! I was lucky enough to find the cheapest and best craft at my local dollar store: Felt Sew Kits of Dory and Nemo. Perfect for their first sewing experience. Made my mama’s (and lifetime sewer’s) heart so proud. Painted fishies with our hands and played for hours in the pool, all pretending to be lost fishes, just like Dory.

Star Wars week was cut short because we decided to go on a road trip last minute; but we still managed to make pool noodles lightsabers. Had a Star Wars pic nic, and played with our Tsum Tsum making stop motion animation. The boys love to do that; they could spend hours making them and watching them. I love when they can’t stop laughing at their own little short films!  So cute.

So, now that it’s mid-September already, I’m just like everyone else, wondering where the summer went. But all that will be shortly forgotten if this week’s perfect weather lasts for a while… cause with the next 6 weekends being jam packed with some of our favorite activities, it would make it so much more enjoyable with some great fall weather. And after the shitty summer we just got, come on, we deserve it!!!

Well, sunny or not, I’ve spotted my first pumpkin this morning, and it made me happy, cause Halloween is coming and everything is good in the world (well for me!) when it’s Halloween!!!

 

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weekend and bars… breakfast bars

Our house has been hit by a few viruses the last couple of days and it sucks. Liam has a fever since Friday, I’m congested and Logan is starting a cold. Nothing says back to school like a sick household. Nevertheless, this long weekend we spent plenty of time snuggling, played board games, watched Fails on the iPad, had some people over for diner and then went out to the track with the boys and family to watch some horse racing. On this rainy Monday morning I decided to bake my favorite breakfast bars to start the week on a good note! Then, not long after lunch, since it was kinda the perfect weather for a nap, the four of us ended up napping at the same time all over the house!

So now that I am fully rested, I’m back to my new laptop ready to write a new post. My favorite fruit is definitely raspberry. Nothing bring me more joy than going to my mom’s and being greeted by the sweet smell of raspberry pie baking in the oven (lucky me she brought us one last night!). Since I can’t eat pie for breakfast every morning (like I did today), once in a while I bake these amazing raspberry breakfast bars. I think it might be the first recipe I saved on Pinterest way back when. So today I’m sharing Smitten Kitchen’s recipe and it’s so good!

Raspberry Breakfast Bars

What you need:

For the crust and crumb:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup pack brown sugar
1 1/4 cups rolled oats
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces

For the raspberry filling:
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tbsp grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsps flour
1 pound raspberries, fresh or frozen
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tbsps unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Make the crust and crumb: Preheat the oven to 350. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. Put a long piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan, letting the parchment extend up the two short sides of the pan and overhanging slightly on both ends. Butter the parchment.

Put the flour, brown sugar, oats, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a food processor. Pulse in short bursts until combined. Add the butter and pulse until loose crumbs form.

Reserve 1 1/2 cup of the mixture and set aside. Pour the rest of the mixture into the prepared pan and use your hands to push the crust into an even layer at the bottom of the pan.  Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let the crust cool. Keep the oven on while you make the raspberry filling.

Make the raspberry filling: In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon and flour together. Add the raspberries, lemon juice and butter. Mix well.

Assemble and bake the bars: Spread the raspberry filling evenly on top of the cooled crust. Sprinkle the reserved crust mixture evenly on top of the filling.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, rotating the pan every 15 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the filling starts to bubble around the edges.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, then cut into squares and serve. The bars can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for a few days.

I’ve made them today with gluten free flour and it worked and tasted delicious. These are so good for lunchbox snacks and late night sugar cravings! Liam has named them “ma deuxieme meilleure chose du monde” his second best thing in the world, his first being his Mimi’s pies! I totally agree… but maybe after poutine, and tacos, and guac… my list of favs is long, but these breakfast bars are up there for sure! Another of my favs are these Starbucks Here You Are mugs that we collect everywhere we go. We’re starting to have lots and they’re so much fun to look at and remember where you were and when you were there. Best one so far is definitely Disneyland! Can’t wait to see what the next one will be!

Anyway, hope we get better soon. It’s back to work time tomorrow morning, so we better have a good night sleep and be ready to go, rested and healthy for this short week! Hope you all had a slow, fun, relaxing and lazy labor day my friends! Smells like Fall and I just love it. Talk to you soon!

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my kind of day

What a crazy week it was with all the back to school thing both for me and for the boys and the back to old (and many new) routines.  Friday night isn’t coming fast enough this week for me.  At least it’s all starting with a long weekend; I’ll take that, thank you!

Here’s a little recap of our last weekend.  Hopefully it will inspire you for this next one!

So there’s this small village, about 45 minutes from Ottawa called Vankleek Hill.  Small place, old charming houses, cute little boutiques, with an awesome friendly community where it seems like every weekend is being celebrated.  My kind of place!  So I was having lunch with the boys in Brian’s hometown as we had planned to visit the local fair when my nephew burst out of nowhere saying they were going to the maze in Vankleek Hill; a giant corn maze!  Right there and then, we changed our plans and made our way to Ouimet Farm Adventure.

I had seen their FB page, heard a lot about it, seen ads and drove in front of it a few times, while never taking the time so stop.  I was impressed the minute I got out of the car.  There was a project in Prescott Russell to paint masterpieces into farm silos.  Ouimet has one and it’s awesome; it’s so beautiful.  I now want to check them all out.  Fall bucket list I guess.  So once we got inside the gates, the boys went crazy with the gigantic bouncer.  So much fun.  They just love bouncers.  Then they pumped water to race rubber duckies.  Another win.

Once it was time for the maze, we teamed up with my sister-in-law and her family, got a few maps and got ready, or kinda ready, cause we were not!  We had no clue what to do, where to go and how to find stuff.  Finally, we managed (or were lucky enough) to find the first clue within minutes, so that helped us.  But man, this maze was hard.  You can choose to do the easy route, medium or hard.  We did the hard route, and it’s really hard… but, after a mere 1 hour and 2 minutes, we finally made it out!  Now I can’t wait to do it again this fall with other people, and do a race, and win because I’ve already did it!  They boys LOVED it, I thought they would be bored but they couldn’t wait to find the next clue and they loved to fill out their maps.  It’s really a great family activity.

We will for sure be going back.  We had a family diner to attend that day so we had to cut our trip short, but we will make sure to spend more time next time we visit.  I think maybe we should buy a house and move there… we were there last weekend for the maze, we’re going back next weekend for the Festival of Flavours, and then two weeks later we’re spending the entire weekend there as there’s no way Brian would miss a minute of Beau’s Oktoberfest!

Yeah, if there was a place I’d move to, I’d say it would be in Vankleek Hill, it’s just so pretty.  But for now, as a tourist visiting this cute little town many times a year, I got to say ‘keep up the good work VKH people, and Ouimet Farm, and other businesses, we will see you soon!’.

 

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robots, diner parties, birthday parties and a wedding

Well, it’s already Thursday and we’re still trying to recuperate from our crazy weekend!  Let’s just say that sometimes, I may over estimate how much time we actually have!

It all started on Friday morning when we went blueberry picking as I explained in last week’s post.  We got back home, baked a little bit, had lunch, and then decided to leave for downtown Ottawa to watch La Machine.

La Machine was a 4-day event for the celebration of Canada 150th.  A dragon and a spider, chasing each other around the city.  They were huge, and so spectacular.  To get there, we took the bus from Orleans, and it wasn’t that bad, as it took us only 50 minutes to get there.  We then started to run around the By Ward Market to find them.  We were spellbound by these robots the second we saw them.  The boys couldn’t get enough.  After an hour in the scorching heat, in was time to leave for the bus station and make our way back home.  Well THAT my friend was an adventure of its own… the three of us stuck on the bridge for almost an hour, waiting for our bus along with 5000 other people.  When our bus finally got there, we hoped on, glued to other passengers for a very long 80 minutes!  Boy oh boy was I glad to see my car and my A\C when I got off that bus!

We all took showers, changed, and then were on our way for diner at my Mom’s.  We had relatives that came down from Kitchener for the weekend, so we wanted to spend time with them, but by 11pm it was time to leave, and finally, by midnight, we were back home and ready for bed.  I was done… and needed some sleep as the next day was somewhat over planned as well!

On Saturday morning, we got ready and drove to our friends’ camping site for a kid’s birthday party.  Spent a few hours there with our friends and then had to change camping lots for another 2 birthday parties.  Brian’s sister’s kids are now so big… 12 and 13 already!  So I spent some time with Brian’s family while the boys rode the golf carts and played with their cousins.  Then, we had to go back home to get all dressed up cause at 6pm it was wedding time, as my little brother was getting married!

So went back home, the kids took a nap, we changed and got ready.  Yeah, my brother got married… still can’t actually believe it, but he did!  Congrats Alex and Crystal!  We had a great time with some family members we clearly don’t see enough.  They had a clown for the kids and they had so much fun.  Our house is still full of balloon swords, and balloon microphones, one octopus, as well as some other stuff I don’t really know what is it and probably don’t want to know!

Sunday morning, let’s say it was hard to get out of bed.  We all slept in till 9.  Don’t think it has ever happened… but I loved it!  We then ran errands, prepare diner and waited for our guests.  The weather was gorgeous and we spent the afternoon in the pool.  Made some Cubano pork sandwiches and had fluffy cheesecake for dessert.  Another late night!  But its summer, so who cares!?!

Well, Brian did, since he was working on Monday morning… but as for us, we crashed on the couch for most of the day!  Way too lazy to do anything or to tackle any chores or errands we needed done.  I made the boys watch Harry Potter for the first time since it was Harry’s birthday.  We also made a Hagrid style cake!  I really hope my love for Potter will be passed on to them!  They may not want to fly a broom like I do, but later this week we’ll be making our own wands.  And they’re the one who asked for it, so I guess that’s good a start!

Finally, on Tuesday it was our 8th wedding anniversary.  Not sure when we’ll have time for a date night, but I surely can’t wait.  For now, we celebrated with soccer night and then a visit to Brian’s dad to see more relatives from Chicoutimi that were visiting for the weekend.

Hope you also had a great -but less crowded- weekend like we did!  If not, well it’s not too late to start planning for the long weekend since tomorrow’s already Friday!

Happy Thursday and happy long weekend!!!

 

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camp woods-part 1

Well, it took a while for the summer to start, but now it seems like it’s flying by so quickly; with half of it already gone by.  Camp Woods is something I started 3 years ago… being at home for the summer months with the boys, I didn’t want them to get bored -or to get bored myself!!!- doing the same old things every day.  So when spring time comes I always start looking online for some fun crafts and activities to do with them; you know, things that might interest us, movies we will want to see and stuff we will have fun to do at home.  I always consider their ‘flavor of the week’, and the things they love at the moment, and then I start planning ahead for my homemade summer camp!  Every week has its own little special twist including a few fun activities and surprises!  I’m not a strict camp monitor, so we go with the flow and add or remove stuff as the weeks go by.  This year the boys are still into Disney, Mario Bros, Cars and Minions.  We will also have a Minecraft week soon -although I hate everything about Minecraft- since the boys are really into it!

So here’s a few things we did the last few weeks:

-went for ice cream cone on Monday morning

-made popsicles sticks painted with Cars characters

-baked Minions cookies, then sneaked them into the theater to watch the movie

-made Minions sundaes

-had a last minute sleep over with our cousins

-built Cars Land in my kitchen and dining room, using basically everything we own

-made mini-pizza and had a pic-nic in our basement when it rained

-watch way to many movies (cause it just keeps on raining)

-made Mickey Mouse shaped avocado and egg sandwiches (all sandwiches should be eaten like that)

-built outside forts

-made some Mickey hats

-went to the cottage for paddle board and sea-doo

-made a Mickey Mouse ice cream cone (and nope, I didn’t share that one with the boys… made one and ate it while they were playing downstairs!!!)

-played at the park

-took the bouncer out of the garage every week to play outside with our neighbors

-tried to learn swimming with swimmers

-and much much more

Honestly, this year is a little bit harder… they aren’t as excited about all of this like they were before.  And we find ourselves with -probably- the same problem other parents face as well: the iPad thing.  Well, electronics in general in our case, with the iPad being the worst one, or their favorite one.  We don’t have cable or satellite so they don’t asked for TV much; but every day is a struggle to keep them away from the iPad.  So we had to set limits that we try to respect, but still, it seems like all they want to do as soon as they have a minute without anything planned is to play on the DS, or iPad, or Wii.  So that’s why I got to start planning my summer activities in the spring to keep them entertained!!!

So two weeks ago, we left the boys with my mom and then had a night out in Montreal.  We had bought tickets a while ago to go see Cirque du Soleil.  And it was awesome!!!  We can’t wait to bring the boys to see one, probably this one later this summer!  After the show we took a stroll on the docks of the Vieux Port and it was the best.  It had been a while since we’ve been there, and it was so nice.  With so many activities for both adults and kids.  As always, there were nice patios, but also zip lines, and shows and some shopping on a boardwalk.  For the kids, there was a bouncy pirate castle land, some ropes courses (not for kids, but for teens, or close-to-be teens), IMAX and so much more.  We plan to visit with my sister-in-law later this summer.  It was nice to be out just the two of us; we need to make more time for date nights like that.  And Cirque du Soleil is always a winner for us as we both love it so much.

So this week is all about Logan.  Baby Loggy is turning 5 on Friday and I want to savor and bottle up his last days of being 4.  He’s so excited about his ‘music’ birthday, it’s all he talks about, he doesn’t even realise how distressed I am that my baby is turning 5.  I will share some pictures of his birthday party next week… but let’s just say that I made some of the most fun and hilarious kids Beatles costumes ever!  I’m sure birthday number five will also be one to remember!

With 4 weeks left before going back to work, I want to spend more one on one time with the boys, I want to put the electronics aside a little and plan together what we want to do!  Let me know what are your summer plans, the fun things your family do, and your tricks for getting them off the freakin iPad!!!

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beautiful maison lavande

Last year, a friend of mine posted a picture of herself and her mom in the middle of a lavender field.  It was gorgeous, and as soon as I saw that picture I knew I had to visit that place.  I had never heard of it before.  So I looked it up, only to find out that it was about 45 minutes away from my mom’s place.  It is called Maison Lavande.  While I was looking at their website, I saw so many incredibly gorgeous photos; and I couldn’t wait to go.  But summer weekends being so busy, it’s not easy to find time for a full Saturday for some ‘me’ time.

So it took almost a year, but finally, on Friday, with nothing planned for the Saturday, I called my friend Cath, told her where I wanted to go… and right away she was on-board and coming with me!  So we made plans, called Maison Lavande and booked us massages for the next day!

So on Saturday morning, with my big girl camera in my hand, I was ready to take some amazing shots!  To say I was ready is an understatement.  The beauty of the fields simply took my breath away.  It was calm, and pure, and serene, and it kind of smelled like heaven.  For a girl who loves lavender and use it almost every day, it was just perfect.  I fell in love.  Every little detail had been thought of: chairs in the fields, quiet areas, and cute little bistro with awesome food.  I could have sat there for the entire day, just doing nothing, just being present while surrounded with purple everything.

We got there early, there were not to many visitors yet and it felt like we had the fields for ourselves.  We started to take pictures while enjoying the beautiful scenery.  We met a young man, Alec, who right away made us feel welcomed.  We had missed the first tour, so he offered to give us a private tour.  Well, thanks a lot Alec!  He only had been working at Maison Lavande for a month, but he was so great and so helpful, especially when it was time to get some pictures of the both of us!  He showed us around, answered all of our questions and gave us tips on lavender.  Who knew lavender could be used to repel lice!  Thanks for the tip Alec… but hopefully a tip I’ll never have to use in my home!  He said the founders and their families were all working there.  It was built by family for family.  And it’s really the feeling you get when you’re there.  You feel like you know them and share their love for the place and for lavender.  If you decide to check it out, I suggest you seek out Alec, he’s the best!

So after the tour, we picked up our lunches and headed to the field to eat in some big purple Adirondack chairs.  We had ham and brie sandwiches with two salads.  We also had drinks included with our massage deal: ‘Moût de pommes pétillant à la Lavande’.  Not gonna translate this one, but it was simply to die for.  Bubbly, fresh, delicious with a subtle hint of lavender.  It was so good that I decided to buy some more to bring back home.  I highly recommend you to do the same!

After lunch we headed to the quiet area and waited for our massages.  WAIT FOR IT.  Our tree house massages!  Yep, you’ve read it right… Maison Lavande is now offering massages in a 40 foot high tree house surrounded by lavender fields.  How awesome is that!!!

So we got up in the tree house, got ready on the massage table and then the massage therapist opened up the curtains.  From my table, all I could see was the lavender fields.  It was one of the best massage experience ever.  The breeze on my back, the silence except for the sounds of nature, and of course, the smell.  I felt relaxed right away.  It felt sooo good!  All I could think of was like “OMG, this is the most awesome thing I’ve done in a really long time”.  And then… SLAP!!!  In an instant, weather changed, like drastically!  The curtains started to fly and hit me.  Huge winds blowing into the tree house, and then the storm… which seemed like the mother of all storms from up there!  It was so bad.  The therapist was trying so hard to secure the drapes but with all the wind it was impossible.  I was lying naked on the table, laughing so hard about all of it… and then the water started to leak from the roof down on my neck!  Let’s just say I got up really fast as it was really cold.  We both held down the drapes together, clad in my mini-robe, while trying to take a picture of the storm!  I just kept on laughing.  That poor girl, she felt so bad, but it was clearly not her fault.  Let’s just say that mother nature is kicking my butt this year… and this time it was my naked butt while in a 40 foot tree house… yeah, there’s a first for everything!

So once the storm had passed, we placed the table in between the roofs to avoid the cold water from dropping down my back and I tried to relax for the last 15 minutes of my massage.  One of the staff was waiting for us in a golf cart to bring us back to the main house.  Even with the rain, I can say that this was one of the best experience ever.  I will be going back yearly for a tree house massage at Maison Lavande… but next time, I will make sure there’s no storm in the forecast!

After our massages, we weren’t ready to leave yet, so we fed the chickens, walked on a pathway in the forest and then had lavender frozen yogurt. Delish!  We stopped in the boutiques to stock up on lavender products: cookies, olive oil, eye lavender pillow, essential oil and a lavender lemonade.  This place is just awesome.  I will be visiting Maison Lavande again, and you should too.  If you want to go this year, I would suggest you hurry, as the beautiful flowers are in bloom up until the beginning of August.  Book a tree house massage, try the delicious drinks, bring your own picnic or eat from the bistro, get some of their great products… and of course, take hundreds of beautiful pictures and savour the unique taste of lavender frozen yogurt.  It’s so worth it!

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