a mess, a pool and a pic nic

For the first time this year the sun came out for an entire weekend, and what did we ended up doing?  Striping off the paint from our deck, oh yeah, almost all weekend long.  BORING!

We’ve been pushing back this tedious task for weeks now, but we’ve finally started.  When I start something, I like to finish it as soon as possible, but I don’t see this one being finished anytime soon… and that’s so discouraging!

Friday night we attended the Confirmation of my niece Nini and nephew Jay-Jay.  So right after work, we drove down to our hometown, ordered pizza from our favorite pizza place, and then headed to church for the celebration.

Saturday morning, I slept in!  Not sure when was the last time I slept until 8:24; which is when my phone rang!  Oh well, we had a lot of work to do, so I had to get up eventually anyway.  Let just say that we’re not the best at doing renovation.  We have no clue what we’re doing.  Give me crafts any day of the week, but renovations, well it seems like it often ends up as fail.  And we did fail.   We had borrowed my father-in-law water pressure machine to clean the deck and get it ready for painting.  Brian thought there was not enough pressure, so he texted our friend Mat to borrow his gas pressure washer.  Well that one had a lot of pressure, like way too much as it literally stripped the wood from the deck!  When wet, while Brian was doing it, I couldn’t really see the damaged he was doing, but as soon as it dried up a little, I couldn’t believe it, it was a disaster!  At least we didn’t ruined all of it, since I’ve noticed he wasn’t doing it right after about 30 minutes… but still, we now have to sand 1/4 of the deck before we can paint it.  Brian’s response when I came out to see how he was doing with the deck and realized he was ruining it was: ‘well, the guy on YouTube said…’; oh boy, don’t quit your day job honey!  We spent the entire day on Saturday working on this task.  So long, and boring.  At least we had friends over for BBQ and drinks to make it a fun day!

Sunday morning, back to cleaning the deck.  I would say we are now 3/4 done with the stripping and cleaning part.  Then sanding and painting.  Brian left for golf and the boys and I had our first swim of the season.  Yay!  I have no clue what was the water temperature, and I don’t want to know, but let me tell you it was really cold.  The boys didn’t care either… and Logan jumped in it without even touching it first and stayed there for at least 40 minutes.  We had a blast, jumping, splashing and swimming around.  I bought the most awesome pool float, a TACO!  Not sure who gets all these ideas for amazing pool float, but I’m obsessed with them and I keep on buying some more!!!

After our swim, we took a nap.  Nothing better than a nap after spending time in the sun and the pool.  We then packed a lunch and headed to the park for our first pic-nic of the summer.  Perfect weather, with lots of mosquitos and lots of rocks to throw in the water.  We found a table near the water to eat our snacks and then played in the structures and slides.  When I asked the boys what they liked the most about our day, Logan said jumping in the pool while Liam preferred throwing rocks in the water.  He just loves to throw rocks in the water!

So for the first nice weekend of the summer, let say we worked hard and played hard!  Can’t wait to do it all over again next week… minus the mess we made on the deck… hopefully, by then, my backyard patio will be nice again!  Hope your weekend was great as well and that this week goes by fast!

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tbt super mario bash

I can’t believe this was over 2 years ago already.  I will say this again and again, but time flies, and sometimes I don’t like it because I love them so much, just the way they are now!

I’m actually the one who introduced Mario Bros to Liam.  One rainy morning, about 3 years ago, I dusted the Wii and pressed start.  They rest is history.  He was hooked, like instantly.  And then Logan followed.  At that time, for a while, all Liam wanted to do was to play with his Mario and friends stuffed animals.  So it was only natural that his fourth birthday would be Mario Bros-themed.

Honestly, I had so much fun planning it!  It reminded me of all the hours I spent watching my brother play as a kid!

Bought some white canvas and painted his favorite characters; bought stars balloons and painted eyes, just like in Mario Kart; and then used some wrapping paper for all the mountains and vines.  My mom had made some cut-outs of Princess Peach and Mario, and they were a hit!  She also made some crochet mushroom hats that the boys still wear daily!

The cake was big, but what can I say, we have huge parties!  It was fairly easy to make… I used some vinyl characters and made warp zones with toilet paper carton rolls!  Cupcakes are always a must for kids party; easy to make and easy to eat!

I honestly can’t remember what we had to eat… probably pizza!  Liam’s favorite food back then; Liam’s favorite food now!

We still have the art work of all the characters in the boys playroom… they just love Mario Bros’ toys, especially stuffed animals… they play with them almost every day.  I would say we have around 40 of them in the house!!!  Various Marios, Luigis, Yoshis, Toads and Peaches, and then a Bowser, a ghost, a fish, a turtle, etc., as well as many other less popular ones like Ludwig Von Koopa and Larry!  They seem to have them all, but still, they always find a new one they don’t have!  They both know which one they want next (well, only if they get great report cards!).

They love to play the Mario games on the Wii… it’s so funny, they know how to complete most of the levels before they even try it for the first time!  Since they’ve discovered Mario 3 years ago, one of their favorite things to do is to watch someone else play Mario’s on YouTube.  They only like watching the Wii games… I’ve tried to make them watch the old Nintendo Mario games, but they didn’t find it too exciting!  REALLY???  I could have spent hours playing Duck Hunt back then!!!  So they often play on the Wii with Brian on the weekends,  mostly on Saturday morning, as we have to try to limit screen time during the week… cause once they start, they could play all day!

This week, Minecraft is the new thing in our house!  It’s all they talk about, so they won’t play with their Mario’s… but you know what, just like all the other games and toys they fell in love with over the last 2 years (Lego, plants vs zombies, Shopkins, etc.), Mario will always come back on top eventually… well I hope so, because I got to admit that I secretly love seeing them play a game I used to love myself when I was their age.  Crazy how some things don’t change!

Mario Time!

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a long weekend and a mango popsicle

So, who partied all weekend long?  I wish it was me; but instead it ended up being like the most lengthy, rainy, and crappy long weekend of my life!  Well, I might be exaggerating here a little, cause I did plenty and had some fun… but today, without the sun on a day off work, it’s so easy to be grumpy!

My mom came over on Friday morning and cleaned up all the flower beds and then planted some new flowers.  I’m not the best at gardening… my Mom tho, she’s the Queen!  I’m so thankful that I had the pleasure to come home after work to see all these beautiful flowers in front of my house, without having to do any of the work.  To thank her, I asked her to stay over for diner, cooked us a nice meal on the BBQ, and then chilled and relaxed with her all evening long.

Saturday morning, my father-in-law came over to help us built our new gazebo.  Not sure why I always do this, but I ALWAYS underestimate the time or effort a certain task will take.  Like putting up the gazebo.  It was sooooo long and tedious.  So happy we had help.  At first I thought Brian and I could built it in like 3-4 hours or so… then Brian got mad at me for telling him this shouldn’t be ‘that’ hard to do… but, got to admit, this time he was right.  It was a way tougher job than I expected… it was actually like he told me at first (and also like it was saying on the box): 2-3 persons for 10-12 hours!  Thank God his father came over to help! But now it’s done and it looks gorgeous.  Can’t wait for the sun to come out and go hide in the shade under my new awesome gazebo with my favorite drink in my hand!

So, Brian started to play ball this weekend, again…  I never get used to it.  I have no problems being by myself, but being by myself during the weekend, when it’s raining, blahhhh.  So, Saturday I made Mangoes & Pistachios Popsicle with the boys… delish!  We then watched a movie with popcorn and candies, built forts and played Minecraft.  Yep, the boys discovered Minecraft last weekend, and now, they want to play the game, but they get frustrated at me for being so clueless for video games, which doesn’t help me gain points with them!  Oh well, they’ll get over it.  Or they’ll ask Brian once he’ll be back from his freakin softball tournament!

Sunday was more of the same except for a super nice long nap!  I’ve been eyeing a Black Forest Cake recipe for a long time and decided it was the right day for it.  Turned out gorgeous, but the taste was a little disappointing.  So right after our nap, we packed up our things and headed for my Mom’s for diner, dressed in our pj’s.  Jojo and Lulu even came over for dessert to try my new Black Forest cake!  No one really complained about it, but we did all agree that my Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake was the best and that I should stop trying to make a better one!

Finally, today, for Patriots Day, we went to Ottawa for lunch at The King Eddy.  Loved it.  Loud music to cover up the boys’ noise, awesome fries, great atmosphere, and awesome food.  My pick was the ‘Chicken and Waffles’.  Wow!  The chicken was so juicy and crispy, and the waffles, I’d say they were like award winning waffles!  You got to try if you can!  We then walked in the By-ward Market, found the new Ottawa sign for the Canada 150th celebrations, tried to take some pictures (along with hundreds of others trying to do the same), bought fresh produce, and then got caught in the rain!

So, since the cake was like somewhere between an awesome looking dessert and a disaster, I’m leaving you with only the Popsicle recipe:  Tangy, sweet and nutty… based on a Ricardo recipe, but adjusted to my taste, of course!  Bought the popsicle mold from Amazon.ca… and they turned out to be just like all the Popsicle on Pinterest!  Pretty sure I’ll be making popsicles non-stop all summer long… so come over and enjoy one by the pool!

Mangoes and Pistachios Popsicle

what you need:

4 cups of frozen mangoes

1\2 cup of sugar

1\2 cup of plain Greek yogurt

1\4 cup of pistachios chopped

How to:

Thaw the frozen mangoes.  Puree in a blender and strain in a strainer.  Throw away the pulps.   Add the sugar and yogurt.  Mix well.  Place the mango mixture in the popsicle mold.  Leave a small gap on top and add some of the chopped pistachios.  Place a popsicle stick in the mold and freeze for a few hours.

Warning, you should hide when you’re eating these popsicles, if not, you’ll end up having to share!  Enjoy!

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cinco de mayo

To end my Mexican recipe week, I decided to invite a few friends over to try out some of my favorite dishes!  It ended up being quite the feast; a Cinco de Mayo kinda feast!

I spent a few days making paper flowers, a piñata and some more recipes.  Made a raglan taco shirt for Liam and found a watermelon tank top for Logan… although I am clearly not a fan of tank tops for my boys!  The best part: fake mustaches.  The boys looked hilarious wearing them… although, once again, I’m not a fan of mustaches, and I hope they never get a real one when they grow up!!!

So we drank Corona’s, ate tacos, quesadillas and some tortillas.  And just before we ate way to much guacamole and homemade salsa my friend Eric had made.  For dessert we had some delicious churros with dulce de leche dip.  Let’s just say that by the time we were done with the churros we looked like six full fake Mexicans.  But there was still a surprise for the kids : a candy filled piñata.

I should have bought the damn thing… I made it at 11 pm the day before, with box/carton and about 20$ worth of duct tape; which made it indestructible!  The kids got tired of hitting my cow/donkey with the plastic baseball bat, so Brian had some fun breaking it open with a golf club!  Then the kids had a few tears because of who got what, but I guess it’s all part of the fun of having a piñata, and in the end they were all pretty happy to eat some candy although they were already so full!

I think I will celebrate Cinco de Mayo for years to come.  All the colors and the amazing food are perfect to get me in the summer spirit!  Let’s just hope that next year we’ll get to do it outside, with a bit more sun and wayyy less rain/water!

Te quiero!

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may the fourth be with you

In our home, any reason is a good one to celebrate!  So now that the boys are into Star Wars, ‘May the Fourth be with you’ was a good reason enough to have our own little Star Wars waffle party.

I found a Star Wars waffle maker back in December at Wal-Mart; and of course I had to buy it 5 months in advance just for May 4th; and as I expected, it was a hit with the boys.

So we whipped up some batter, dressed up in our Star Wars pj’s, and ate whipped cream and delicious maple syrup waffles.  All that while watching Star Wars Lego.

We will also have a Star Wars week during Camp Wood this summer, so I didn’t want to go overboard with the activities.  I’ll have to keep them entertained all summer long after all, which won’t be an easy task, so I must keep some interesting stuff up my sleeves!  Last week we ended up painting terra cotta pots with their favorite Star Wars characters and then planted a plant in it for their room.  Let see how long these last… as they are supposed to take care of it!  Yeah right.

It’s fun to have some out of the ordinary day in the middle of the week.  It changes the routine, and they just love doing stuff during the week that we usually do during the weekend.  So find a day, find a theme, and go along for some out the ordinary fun this week!

I’ve also included a little video of Liam, playing the Star Wars Theme song.  I’m so happy he’s playing the piano.  Let’s hope he continues to love it.  We’re so proud of you!

May the Fourth be with you!

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chipotle corn on the cob

Who doesn’t like corn?  I mean, aside from Logan, I don’t think I’ve ever met someone that doesn’t like corn on the cob!

I bought corn and I have to say that it was pretty good for not being in season.  I got a new recipe book last week called ‘Summer Table’, in which I found a great corn on the cob recipe for my Mexican week.  I might be clueless, but it required some Chipotle Adobo sauce, which I had never heard of before.  So I looked it up, and it’s actually smoked and dried jalapenos in a sweet tangy purée of tomato.  Sound delish right?  Well it was!

So again, very easy to prepare.  Remove the husk from the corn… I didn’t entirely removed it, I decided to tie it at the other end for prettier pictures!  Then pour the sauce on top of the corn and wrapped it up in foil, leaving the husk on the outside.  Here’s the recipe.

Chipotle Corn on the Cob

What you need:

12 corns

1 can peppers in Adobo sauce (found at my local Food Basics)

1/4 melted butter

2 cloves of garlic minced

1 pinch of cumin

2 TBS tomato paste

2 TBS honey

2 TBS oilive oil

2 TBS sugar

Garnish:

cilantro

mozzarella

hot chili peppers

How to:

Preheat the BBQ at 400.  Remove the husk, leaving it hanging and tie it with twine.  Mix all the ingredients together and pour over the corn.  Wrap four corns with foil, leaving the husk on the outside.  Repeat for all corns.  If you put too many, turning them on the grill will be difficult.  Place the foil packets on the BBQ, placing the husk toward the outside of the BBQ, and close the lid.  Cooking time should be between 20-25 minutes, turning the corns once after 10-12 minutes.  Once they’re ready, remove from foil and let them roast on the grill for a few minutes.  But watch them carefully, if not you’ll end up with popcorn.  Remove from the grill and garnish with mozzarella cheese, cilantro and hot peppers.

The taste is very different than regular boiled corn on the cob, but delicious.  The smokiness from the Adobo plus the grill is amazing.  Perfect for BBQ nights and Cinco de Mayo!

So I’ve discovered a new recipe as well as a new sauce… will definitely try some chicken marinated with this spicy Adobo sauce soon!

I hope you will try some of these Mexican and spicy recipes I’ve share this week.  So far, all three would go great together!  And if you have your own favorite Mexican recipe, please share!

Salud.

 

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who wants some taquitos?

So for my second day of awesome Mexican recipe, I’ve tried a new one.   And I will definitely make it again and again.  Great to make in advance for some lunches; or you can cut it up and serve it as appetizers; or even serve for diner with some lime and cilantro rice.  Beware: lots of spiciness!  I used some jalapeno in a jar… and I thought they’d be less spicy, but boy oh boy, was I wrong!

Here the recipe for the awesome Creamy Jalapeno Taquitos!

What you need:

4 boneless chicken breast

8oz cream cheese

2 TBS of pickled jalapeno chopped

pinch of cumin

1 TBS garlic salt

salt and pepper

12 tortillas

tex-mex cheese

sour cream

How to:

Preheat oven at 400.  Place chicken, cream cheese, jalapeno, cumin, garlic salt, salt and pepper in a baking dish.  Mix well and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven, mix well again and replace for another 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, grate the cheese and set aside.  Remove the chicken and let cool for 5 minutes.  Shred the chicken mixture.  Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Take a tortilla, place some cheese in the middle and add a few spoonful of the chicken mixture.  Roll the tortilla tightly and place on the parchment paper.  Repeat for all the tortillas.  Heat up (at 400) in the oven until golden.  Serve with some cream cheese, fresh jalapenos, lime wedge and cilantro.

I’ve stored the leftover taquitos in a Ziploc bag, ready to be heated up for lunch.  Once again, these are spicy, so beware.  If you’re not a fan, cut out half of the jalapenos or leave them out entirely.  But these are so good with the full 2 tbs of chopped pickled jalapeno!!!

Enjoy!

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pineapple salsa fit for a fiesta

 

Finally, May is here. That means I’m getting ready for Cinco de Mayo!  I love, love, love Mexican food, and finally (and hopefully), the boys do too!

It took a while but we now have Taco Tuesdays at our house.  And this next Friday we’re hosting a little Cinco de Mayo get-together where I’ll be cooking some of my favorite Mexican recipes.  So this week, my blog will be all about delicious, flavorful and spicy food!

At the top of my list: GUACAMOLE! This was the first recipe posted on my blog, which you can find here.  Always a crowed pleaser, so you should double the recipe if you ever try it for a small group of people. Try it, you’ll know what I mean!  Awesome with nachos, but also great with chicken, tacos, fajitas, toast and more!

So this week’s first recipe is a Pineapple Salsa.  It tastes so ‘fresh’, it will make you think of summer.  And I bet you’ll want to eat it all summer long as well.  Great with nachos, baked tortillas, or on top of some grilled chicken.  Great for pool parties, diners or just for a snack.  It’s really healthy, well, until you add the chips!!!

This recipe calls for an entire pineapple; you may think it’s a lot, but once you’ll start to eat it, you’ll wonder why you didn’t used two!

Pineapple Salsa

What you need:

1 pineapple, cut into small cubes

1\4 cup of fresh cilantro

1 jalapeno

1 small red onion

2 tbs. lime juice

1 small tomato

salt and pepper

How to:

Really easy.  Cut everything into small cubes.  Place in a bowl.  Add the chopped cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper.  Mix well.  Place in the fridge for about an hour before serving.  You can keep it in the fridge for at least 4-5 days in an airtight container.  Serve with nacho chips, or on top of anything really!

This week’s recipes are really spicy.  I will be using a lot of jalapenos, but if you’re not a fan of the heat, use less jalapeno or just leave them out of the recipe. My kids are not fans of the spiciness, maybe because I’ve had a bit too much of Frank’s Hot Sauce while pregnant (but I was craving for it), who knows!  So all these recipes can be kids friendly without the peppers/jalapenos.

So, if you are into Mexican food like myself, you should really try this recipe.  It’ll make you feel like you’re in Mexico enjoying the beautiful Mexican sun, while here in Ottawa it’s freezing and pouring rain outside all day long.

Oh, and don’t forget to let me know what you think of this awesome pineapple salsa me amigo.

Salud!

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