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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a little diy

Ever since we moved  into our new house, almost 3 years ago, I’ve been wanting larger than life prints of the boys.  I think I’ve pinned over 100 frames on Pinterest the last 2 years, and they were all very nice, almost looking like what I wanted, but just not quite… so I knew this frame project would have to be a DIY type of thing to get me pleased!  So this summer, I rolled up my sleeves and called my step dad for help!  Without having a Pinterest account himself, just by listening to me, he knew right away what I wanted.  I gave him the dimension of the pictures and the next thing I knew, the two frames were built.  And they were just perfect!!!

I already had my pictures picked out, so I sent them right away at Walmart to be printed… and for 14.97 each, I’d say it’s very reasonable for a 24×36 print!  Frank made the frames from old reclaimed wood with a 45 degree angle cut; and he also made a groove inside for the pictures to sit in.  So using a spray adhesive that I already had from a previous craft project (Liam’s baby baseball room with a full wall covered with old Red Sox Baseball cards; clearly not my idea!), I sprayed the back of the pictures, glued it to a thin Luan board that I used as the back of the frames, putted the picture/board in its spot and nailed it in place using mini finishing nails.  You can buy these boards at Home Depot and have them cut out the right size for you for a small fee. Then I’ve installed a wire at the back for hanging, and just like that I had some awesome frames ready to be installed!

Even though I didn’t cut any of the wood and don’t know how difficult of a task this represents, I’m pretty sure the hardest part of all this was hanging the frames.  We have 9 foots ceiling and I wanted the frames to be hung in the stairwell. Brian was not impress with me that morning. But with our ladder and some planks we were able to build some type of homemade but not-to-steady and clearly not-so-safe scaffold that did the job!  I wish I had taken a picture of Bry while he was standing on his wobbly 10 foot long 2 X 8 over the staircase, but I guess holding his back was more important than taking a shot of him at that time!

So now it’s up there, and it’s now one of my favorite walls in the house. The frames turned out even more awesome than expected.  I love doing some DIY projects, and I got some more already in mind as my to-do list is long, but I can finally check this one off. You know, large pieces of art are expensive to buy, but these two frames costed me less than 35$ each to make, so you can’t go wrong with that. So give it a try, and if you encounter a problem, call Frank, he’ll know what to do!

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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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