vegas with kids? oh yes we did

Never say never.  Yes, we are those parents who brought their kids to Las Vegas!

I’ve been to Vegas a few times prior to our last trip and I’ve always said I would never bring my kids there.  But, well, surprise, surprise, our boys came to Vegas with us for 4 days last summer!

We love Las Vegas.  We had such an incredible time at our Honeymoon in 2009, and then again in 2013, both times staying at the gorgeous Wynn Encore… every time we go to Vegas it seems different yet always so much fun!

I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to bring our kids to the city of sins, but luckily we had our double stroller (that stroller saved our lives multiple times) and many siblings to help us entertain the boys.

If you’ve read my posts on on our California trip, you know we had the time of our lives over there.  So Vegas is the second part of that 10 days trip.  We left Anaheim on the Tuesday morning, in our rented super nice minivan and drove off to the desert.  It was a really smooth ride, sometime too smooth going 100 mile per hour without even feeling it!  The boys were great, and within less than 4 hours we were at The Mirage checking-in.  We had 2 great connecting rooms with the best Jojo in the world!  Thanks Jojo for the room!!!  My Mom and Frank had arrived the day before and Brian’s family had arrived earlier that day.

We all met at the gorgeous pool for a swim as the HEAT was just crazy.  Wow!  I’ve always been to Vegas in the summer, but I had never seen a Vegas heat wave.  We couldn’t touch the pavement as it would have burned our feet instantly.  It was so hot we even saw an orange construction cone melting on the street.  It went up to 47 degrees at some point.  The air felt non-existent, like it was difficult to breath in.  So we had a few icy margaritas at the pool while enjoying a swim, and then went back inside to cool down and for a nap.

Later that day, we all met at the Forum Shops at Cesar’s Palace to have dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, yep second time in a week having dinner at the Cheesecake Factory… it was that good and we knew our family would enjoy it.  We had an awesome dinner and the best server.  We then took a walk down the Strip at about 11:30 at night and it was still above 35 degrees…

So the week before we were at Disneyland, and it was magical to see the boys’ reaction when meeting all of the characters… well Vegas was different… as they were scandalized and so confused to see Olaf and some Minions on the sidewalks without their costume’s HEAD while taking a break… so not like Disney!!!

Wednesday was wedding day!  Since the last time we had been there, the restaurant Giada had opened at the new hotel The Cromwell, so we decided to have brunch over there.  The restaurant is simply beautiful.  We had a great booth overlooking the Strip and Bellagio.  We shared a brick oven pizza and ceasar salad while the boys had the fanciest chicken strips and some amazing gelato ice cream sandwiches for dessert.

Then, we went back to our room and got ready for the wedding.  Drove over to The Little Church of the West and met up with our family and friends that had made the trip to see my mom getting married.  Took lots of pictures and then it was wedding time, or wedding minutes!  My Mom was gorgeous, and I was the one walking her down the aisle; both of us giggling all the way down.  It probably took less than 5 minutes for her and Frank to get married.  It was quick and beautiful.  We then headed out to one of our favorite restaurant, Maggiano’s.  It was really nice to be all together and celebrating this special day.  We had a wonderful time and the food was delicious, as always.

My Mom and Frank wanted to go to the Paris hotel where a band was playing in a little casino side cabaret.  And that’s when having kids in Vegas started to be a pain.  Until then, we didn’t really had any trouble with the kids, as we were able to go through all of the casinos in all of the hotels, as long as we wouldn’t stop, like NEVER.  You have to be in constant movement in the casinos or someone will come and warn you.  So thanks to our awesome stroller, it was easy for us to keep the kids seated (with the iPad or a toy to play with) for sometime an hour or so.  But that night it became a bit more difficult after we were told we weren’t allowed inside the cabaret with the kids… It was kind of sad for Brian to miss my mom’s wedding ‘reception’, but I understand their rules… so I stayed at the cabaret while Brian was circling around the casino.  Eventually, he left with the boys to bring them back to the room; a 15-minute walk took 1:30 with the stroller due to some of the elevators being broken, escalators too small for the stroller, and some closed walkway.  Basically, it was a pain.  So I stayed a little longer to listen to the band and dance with my mom on this special night.  There was an hilarious couple who were clearly out dancing us; kind of pretending they were on Dancing with the Stars!  It was hilarious!  Right before it was time to go, Jojo caught the bouquet, and then we said our goodbyes to the newly married couple!

On Thursday we took a quick trip to the Premium Outlets, met up with my friends Anik and Jannick who flew to Vegas for the wedding.  Came back for a swim and a nap, and THEN, got dressed up for the big event: LOVE by Cirque du Soleil.  We saw LOVE 7 years ago, but we wanted to see it again.  At first, when we booked our trip, the show was on hiatus.  But 3 weeks prior to our departure, a 10th Anniversary LOVE show was announced.  So we jump at the occasion and bought some tickets for us, Jojo and Brian’s dad.  Red carpet and all for Ringo Star, Yoko Ono, John Lennon’s son and Sir Paul McCartney.  We could see them from our seats; and it was just a unique experience to watch that show and listen to the Beatles’ music with Sir Paul sitting next to us in the crowd.  Fantastic show; we’ll see it again one day that’s for sure.  At the end, Sir Paul came on the stage and sang with us.  It was such a beautiful moment that I will never forget.

Matante Lulu babysat the boys in our room while we attended the show. Merci Matante!!!  By 10:30 the show was over but we weren’t ready to call it a night, so we all left for Fremont Street.  At 11:00 at night, parents of the year award goes to us!  And it was so inappropriate; the boys saw things they should have not seen for another 15 years!  The naked nuns being one of those!!!  I’ll just say it’s the last time for a while that I will venture out to Fremont Street!

So Friday was our last day of our 10 day California/Vegas trip.  We explored a few more hotels, gambled a little, took a few pictures and met up again with Jannick.  We had drinks at Serendipity on the strip side patio and did a bit of shopping.  Rounded up the gang and had one last dinner at the Mirage buffet.  Our flight was delayed and the boys were amazing staying up late once again.  We got lucky though, as the four of us were upgraded to first class seats for our red-eyed flight back to Montreal.  Let’s just say the boys looked really jet-set in first class with their drinks and provided iPad!  I could really get used to travelling like this!

So, in the end, it was not that bad bringing the kids to Vegas, but I wouldn’t recommend it (although they seemed to have enjoyed their trip and the night life!).  Logan really enjoyed Las Vegas as he sang ‘Viva Las Vegas’ so many times during the week, he was so cute!  Vegas or anywhere else, we just love to travel with people we love; it’s the best.

We will be back in Vegas for sure… next time at our beloved Wynn Encore… but without our boys by our side!  We love traveling with them, and of course I’m already planning on bringing them back to see Mickey soon, but Vegas is our own Disneyland, and we can’t wait to go back by ourselves!!!

Viva Las Vegas!

 

Continue Reading

last week of winter

First, I would like to announce the very lucky winner of the essential oils holder giveaway: Anne-Renée Caporicci!  Kind of forgot about it over March break, but better late than never!  Thank you to everyone who shared, liked and promoted my blog.  And thanks a lot to our friend from Scotty Wood Design for the great gift!  I wish I could give everyone a prize! You are all so great, thanks again for following mylemondroplife!  I promise I’ll do another giveaway very soon.

So last week was March break, finally!  We had been waiting for it for like forever.  We had a long to-do list, but not much got a chance to be crossed off.  It wasn’t on the list, but we did end up spending three straight days in our pajamas!  It should have been on the list cause it felt sooo good.

On our first day off, we slept in… well past the usual 7am.  A luxury!  And then we took the boys and their cousins to a few games of laser quest.  We met a friend from Liam’s class, played arcade games, had a lot of fun, and then we went for an ice cream cone at Chocolats Favoris.  Laser quest followed by ice cream cone is one of my boys favorite things to do!  One of my favorite as well.

Back home, we had Brian’s sister and brother over for dinner.  My brothers-in-law practically took over my home and Brian’s toolbox and repaired every minor things our house needed fixing for!  The question needs to be asked: where was my husband when they learned all of that?  I don’t want to know!  Well, thanks guys… please come back in May for the outside fixin’!

Sunday was snooze fest.  We each took turns for naps and being lazy.  These days are the best!

Monday was Trolls Day.  The boys have been obsessed with the movie and CD.  The music is awesome, or was awesome, for a while.  Logan got the soundtrack for Christmas and it’s all the music we have been listening to in the car since.  I can’t listen one more time to ‘Can’t stop the feeling’.  The movie has also been on a loop at home since we got it.  So, to make them happy on their first real March break day off, I decided to have a special day to honor Trolls.  My mom made the most awesome Trolls hat, it’s hilarious!  We also had popcorn and Trolls cookies and cones while watching -once again- the movie.

We had the best of days on Tuesday.  I had planned the chocolate paint activity with my cousins!  You can read more about that in my last post.  The kids had so much fun being together.  But it made me feel old, as I can remember spending time with my cousins during March break doing fun activities our parents had planned out for us.  Now, it’s our turn.

On Wednesday, as soon as Brian came back from work, we left for the cottage for a three nights little family getaway.  It was Brian’s first days off since our California adventure last summer, and the kids were really excited that the four of us were leaving on a ‘trip’.  Logan was expecting we’d take a plane and go to Disney, but no, not this time Loggy; it was only a short road trip to my uncle’s cottage in Morin Heights.  We were lucky enough to have the cottage for ourselves for the weekend (as my uncle was away down south with my mom for the week).  Morin Heights is a cute little village near Saint-Sauveur in the Laurentians.  We had packed our snowshoes, a bunch of kids movies and some snacks.  First stop was for a late diner at Patate Labelle in Lachute, a snack bar where you can get some of the best fast food around.  For me it was a poutine; HEAVEN!

Once we arrived, we made a fire and snuggled on the couch for what seems like hours.  By that I mean the boys on the iPad and myself taking a nap!

Next morning, we braved the cold and got out to the Glissades des Pays d’En Haut. We met up with our friends ‘les Roy’ and went sliding/tubing.  It was one of my favorite as a child and still is.  That place is so much fun with some really fast rides, but with next to nobody on the hills, bonus, there was like no waiting time.  After the first ride we already knew that our little Logan was not a fan.  Poor Loggy, he saw the hills and he started to cry, so I decided to skip a few with him, but we did managed to bring him back with us later for some more rides… but he definitely had more fun jumping on the tubes and eating snow than going down the hill!

We did the rafting and tornado slides and they were crazy!  I mean the 8 of us in one circle type of boat going down the hill while spinning and spinning, watch out!  I screamed the entire way down!

So we went back to the cottage, and then, of course, I took another nap… what can I say, for me, cottage + fire = I need a nap.  Well not only at the cottage, it’s actually one of my main priorities when on vacation.  But then I was ready for our feast.  Our friends joined us at the cottage, and we had cheese fondue, cheese raclette and another fondue.  But even after that amazing meal and all that good cheese, I got to say that the best part was the dessert!!!  Vero had made some croissants filled with Cadbury Easter eggs.  To die for… while the guys’ dessert was another craft beer… they found a spot in Morin Heights where there was a ton of Beau’s beer that they can’t find at our local LCBO… but as excited as they were, nothing could have come close to what I felt eating that Cadbury Egg croissant!  Shortly after we were done with the desserts, we were all so full, and the kids were all so exhausted that we called it a night.

Friday was already here and we went snowshoeing in the mountain trails.  I’d say it was a tad dangerous and a little extreme for some 4 and 6 years old, but it was just gorgeous.  After snowshoeing, we went for a French onion soup, then a nap, and then some main street shopping in Saint-Sauveur before ending up in a pub to celebrate St-Patty’s Day… with craft beers, burgers and an awesome dessert.  And then, one last night at the cottage, with the end of March break approaching way too fast…

On our way back home, we had to go say goodbye to Brian’s aunt, and on our way there we went to the theater to see Beauty and the Beast.  No spoiler alert here, just go watch that movie.  Wow!  We had dinner with Brian’s family, and then it was time to drive back to Rockland… and time to end our March break the same way we started it, in our pajamas!  It was a week filled with great snacks, great adventures, great friends, and many great naps… just the way it’s supposed to be!

Next, summer break!

Continue Reading

easter edible art

I would have loved this activity as a child.  I saw the ad online two weeks ago and within minutes I had recruited my cousins for an afternoon of fun with our kids.  Two words and they we’re hooked; Chocolats Favoris!

Two amazing things put together: Easter and Chocolats Favoris… marketing GENIUS.  Either online or in store, you can pick out everything you need for this great Easter activity.

Véro picked out the chocolate for everyone in advance, but it would be even more fun to bring your kids to the store and let them pick out their favorite one, and of course, have an ice cream cone while you’re there!  The prices were very reasonable, with an average of 12$-15$ per child.  An outing, a craft and delicious chocolates!  A win for everyone.  Once you have chosen your favorite mold, you pick out a chocolate color palette and voilà, you’re ready to go!

I would recommend a disposable tablecloth, which we didn’t use!  We ended up scrapping off chocolate off my table for ever!

We melted the color palettes in escargot dishes, best idea, because in a plate I would think that the colors would run together…  Within 5 minutes, the 5 kids were busy painting.  We thought it would last two minutes, but surprisingly, they were entertained for over 25 minutes.  They loved it!

I loved that each kids had their own chocolate palette and did whatever they wanted with it.  They were mixing the colors as they felt; you can really see their personality in their work!  Some were really expressive while painting!

It dries really quickly, so you can pile-up paint on paint on paint without ending up with the same color all over your chocolate.  But of course, by the end, there was chocolate paint everywhere.  Liam loved it so much he was licking the table while Jacob and Logan were eating the paintbrushes!  All resisted eating their work of art.  This activity was even more successful than expected.

I’m probably going to do this again before Easter, since it was such a great creative activity (but next time I’m getting one for myself for sure!).  My favorite masterpiece was Logan’s!  It almost looked like a piece of art I would buy.  Finally, the artsy side of my boys is coming out!

I’m pretty sure these will fly of the shelves of Chocolats Favoris stores.  So grab one and run!  All these pretty colors sure made me ready for Spring; so be ready to be flooded with Easter and Spring posts in the next little while.  Cause although I just spent an amazing March break at the cottage with Brian and the boys, tubing and snowshoeing with cold nights and fireplace, I can say that I’m pretty much done with winter for this year and ready for Spring… and so will you once you do this fun family activity!

 

 

 

Continue Reading

pasta carbonara

ALERT pasta lovers, this Spaghetti Carbonara recipe will change your life!  OMG… new recipe that I found this week that you have to make and eat, like, right now!!!

Easy, fast and sooo delicious.

I’ve never craved for that type of dish before… I love pastas, like, I could eat pasta all the time, but I’m not really into creamy white sauce with my pasta… never really made or ordered something like that before.  But God was I missing on something.  Simply to die for.  I feel like I’m overselling it… but can’t see how you’d be disappointed!

The boys ate a big plate and then asked for more ‘Spaghetti à la crème’.  It was a winner for myself and the entire family.  This recipe will now be in our meal rotation.

I based my recipe on a Jamie Oliver online recipe.  He uses pancetta, I used bacon and added cream.

So easy, you can do all the prep while the pasta is cooking.  Within less than 15 minutes you have an amazing week night meal.

What you need:

3 egg yolks

5 slices of bacon

1 box of spaghetti

1 garlic clove

1/2 cup of 35% cream

salt and pepper

How to:

In a large pot, cook spaghetti in salted water until al dente.

Meanwhile, in a large pan, cook the bacon slices until crispy, once cooked, remove the slices and cut in small pieces.  Leave the bacon grease in the pan and crush the garlic and let it flavor the bacon fat.  You should have about 2 Tbs of fat, if more, remove from pan.

In a bowl, mix the egg yolks, Parmesan cheese, pepper and cream.

Once the pasta is ready, keep 1/2 cup of cooking water and drain the pasta.  Quickly place the pasta in the pan, adding the cooking water, bacon and the egg mix.  Mix well and serve immediately.  Serve with more Parmesan cheese and freshly cracked pepper.

I served this dish with a light arugula salad with a lemon and olive oil.

This is now a favorite of mine.  Hope it becomes one of yours too!

Enjoy!

Continue Reading

throwback thursday: a peter pan birthday

It’s a little throwback Thursday birthday post!

The day my Logan turned 2 with an outdoor Peter Pan bash!  And it was one of my favorite parties of them all.

The Pan story has always been a favorite of mine.  Magic, pirates, mermaids and children that don’t want to grow up.  I loved the story as a kid, but I see another side of it as a mom… as one of the most difficult thing with children, is time.  I never have enough, their presence is like pixie dust and being with them is magic!

My Logy baby is not one that want many things, he’s very content with whatever he can find, doesn’t ask for much and he loves his family.  So, this time I chose the theme (like always, but I pretend it’s their idea, like inception!!!) and made it extra special for my little lost boy!

Summer parties are so much easier.  We used to live outside the city.  It had a huge backyard.  And the parties were amazing!

This time around, I created a space similar to the movie; we had a pirates and foam swords section, mermaids/pool, a tee-pee, and of course and outdoor movie theater!  That was the most fun to create.  Found some really cheap fabric to drape over the wooden frame my husband had built.  Stapled an old sheet for the backdrop and voilà!

I had made some Peter Pan hats for all the boys and the girls had Tinker Bell’s wings.  It was awesome to see all the kids dressed up and ready to celebrate our baby boy!

I had made a huge 5 story cake.  One of my best looking cake ever!  But the instant we brought is outside, it started to melt due to all the humidity, so it became 2 cakes!

A few days prior to my boys birthday, I usually do a photo shoot.  It’s less stressful for them to take some great pictures without wanting to play with all the friends and it gives me great décor, as everything is already there.  Pictures are the best.  Also, I find that my kids love to look back on their birthdays and reminisce.  I’ve created small birthday booklet for each of their birthdays.  Chatbooks is the best for that.  Each book are about 8$ each, so even if they ruin one, I don’t get upset. For the Pan photo shoot, I probably used all the frames in our house for the occasion, and I was able to capture one of my favorite picture ever.

We had hot dogs and salads, and then popcorn for the movie!  And as always, too much cake!  We also had Brian’s cousin do some face painting and balloon animals.  It was a hit.

Birthday parties are always too short if you ask me!  Wish they’d last forever, so my boys could still be babies!  It’s so hard to see them grow up like that, but they have to, so at least we celebrate every year with style and fun!  I love to plan it all out and then see it come to life.  This one was for the books… I will never forget the day my baby turned 2: ‘second star to the right and straight on till morning’.

Continue Reading

st-patty’s roots and recipe

Since the day I met him, Brian has been telling me -and reminding me over and over every chance he gets- that he’s Irish… so every time he does I make fun of him saying he’s not anymore Irish than I am, and every time he goes on a rant about how his grandpa Woodbury’s family came from Ireland, and on, and on…

I’d say that the only Irish thing about my husband is that he loves beer and own an old Ireland t-shirt that he wears once a year!  So every year I play along comes March 17th and I let him believe he’s Irish as much as he wants.  This year, for St-Patty’s day, I’m making him some AMAZING onion soup with some beer from his favorite brewery, Beau’s.  (I’ve already tried it before, so that’s why I know it’s going to be amazing!).  Most of you from the Ottawa region should know Beau’s by now, but for some that live further, Beau’s is a local all-natural brewery that seems to be making almost everything right, including, or especially, craft beer!

So I made this soup in the fall and it was a huge hit.  This time I’m trying it with the Strong Patrick, their special St-Patty’s Day brew!

Here’s the recipe, I just changed the kind of beer I used.  You may use your favorite and I’m pretty sure it will taste great.  The key for me is not really which beer I use but the amount of cheese on top!

What you need:

3 tablespoon of butter

6 cups of thinly sliced yellow onions

1 tablespoon of sugar

1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar

2 cloves of garlic, minced

3 tablespoon of flour

2 cups of Beau’s Strong Patrick

5 cups of chicken stock

thyme, to taste

salt a pepper

slice bread

cheese, lots of cheese (I used Swiss and Mozzarella)

How to:

Melt the butter and add the onions on high.

Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add sugar, vinegar, thyme, salt and pepper.  Then add the flour, mix well, for 2-3 minutes.

Add the beer and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the broth and let simmer for 30 minutes.

Prepare bowls, bread and cheese.

Fill up the bowls, add the toasted bread and cheese.

Broil for a few minutes.

You got to love onion soup this time of year!

So this year, whether your Irish or not-so-Irish, I’d say that for St-Patty’s day you make this soup and you enjoy it while pretending to be!  And then you enjoy a Strong Patrick while wearing your Ireland t-shirt that’s now a little bit too tight for you.  I guess I’ll know now if my so-called Irish husband reads my blog!

Sláinte, and bon appétit!

Continue Reading