our magical tree tradition

Another year, another Christmas Tree. Yes, one of our family’s tradition and favorite day of the year has already gone by, and once again, it was just perfect. Not sure what’s in the air this year, but we were all so very anxious to start decorating for Christmas that we’ve decided to go out to our favorite Christmas Tree farm a week earlier, which we normally do on the first weekend of December.

I will do a house tour of our Christmas decorations sometime next week to show you all why this is the time of the year where I truly fall in love with my house, year after year. I do love my ‘normal’ house, but nothing compares to walking into a Christmas decorated house with the fresh smell of fir. That just makes me happy.

So on Saturday, we talked about it and decided that we didn’t wanted to wait another week before we’d go get our tree, and then made some plans to go to Ian’s Christmas Adventure Park the following day. My mom, Frank and my aunt Lise-Ann decided to join us. The boys had a friend’s birthday party in the morning, and as soon as we got back home, they putted on their pj’s and snowsuits and on our way we were!

It was our 7th visit to Ian’s Christmas Adventure Park and we still love it every year like it was our first time. I have a feeling that we will never grow tired of this place and I truly hope that one day our grandchildren will come with us to pick our tree, and we’ll all make a day out of it, and continue this tradition of ours…

So on Sunday, on our way there, the ground was lightly covered with snow, weather was great and everybody was happy. On the way there, Logan told us that it was his favorite day of the year, which made me so happy! He then added that making a snowman and skating were also his favorite days of the year (but he has NEVER skated yet in his life!!! HAHA). Once we got to the farm, we immediately went to the wagon ride and hit the fields. We strolled for a while before Brian found our magical tree. He usually choose the biggest tree he finds, but this year he kinda went for a pretty one instead of a big one, and I don’t know, but I love a big tree, and I told him that he should have gone bigger; so, well, I guess that after making that comment about his tree I can expect the biggest tree that will physically fits into our house next year; oh well!

So when I say magical tree, and I know I have told you about our corny tradition in last year’s post, but for those who are new here, each year when we go pick out our tree, my mom hides two bags with the boys’ names under the tree that we have chosen. When we (the adults) finally decide on a tree, we bring the boys for a little walk while my mom hides their bags under it, and then we bring back the boys close to the tree and let them walk by themselves until they find their bags with their names, and therefore our magical tree! Silly, but all they could talk about on the way there was which tree would be ours and what could be the surprise they would find under it. It’s usually a small ornament and chocolate, but it gets them really excited!

Once the tree was cut down, we took the wagon back to see the Reindeer. Definitely my favorite moment. Only wish I could do a photoshoot with them à la Mariah Carey! That would be a dream come true. But sadly I don’t own a tight red Santa suit nor am I allowed to go inside the Reindeer’s pens! That’s too bad!!!

The year, for the first time, we ventured past the Reindeer and took a walk on Candy Cane Lane, played in the maze and visited Santa’s workshop. Wish more snow had fallen to make snowballs and throw them at the giant target. Brian found a way to make some of dead grass and a tiny bit of snow; it kinda worked and it was a hit!

Then it was time to warm up by the fire pit, eat a hot dog and drink a hot cocoa! We also made our way into the warm up cabin to look at a few snapshot of all the visiting guests over the years. We love finding some of our older pictures on the wall.

Finally, Brian and Frank tied the tree onto the car and we drove back home for an evening of decorating and diner. It’s now part of the tradition to eat a warm homemade lasagna after freezing our bums all afternoon. We finished the tree, ate dinner, had some raspberry pie and then called it a night. But before going to bed, even if it was past their bedtime, we decided to let the boys watch the tree for a little while, upon their request, while also making plans to play board games in front of it today after school. They just love to sit and watch all the lights and ornaments. So last night, while looking at it, they talked about how good they have to be in order to receive gifts on Christmas morning. Hopefully they’ll remember about it in the morning! Yeah right.

So glad the Holidays are upon us, that my house smells like fir when I walk in, and that my boys love Christmas as much as we do. Now let’s the parties begin!

 

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weekend and sticky buns

Another beautiful weekend that went by way too fast once again! All that gorgeous snow this morning really putted us all in a festive mood… while also catching us by surprise, as we didn’t have our winter tires installed yet… but thanks to my brothers-in-laws, it’s now done!

So it was a PD day on Friday and it turned out being my turn to be off work at school; called my Mom Thursday night, made some plans for the Friday morning, dropped off the boys at daycare and left on a little road trip to the States for the day. The drive was awesome and the shopping too! Of course the first stop was Target, and as expected, it was just awesome and I was able to cross off many things from my list. Got to see the new Joanna and Chip line, unfortunately, all I wanted was already gone… oh well, next time! One of my favorite lunch place is Panera’s. I know we have it here now, but it’s just not the same… I don’t know, I just love to go to Panera’s every time I’m in the States! So right after I had paid for my sandwich and soup, on my way to my table, after I had waited in line for a long time, I spotted some delicious looking Pecan Sticky Buns. I was so mad I hadn’t seen them before, and I didn’t wanted to do the line again, so I didn’t get it, but then they were on my mind all afternoon long!

So by Saturday morning, at about 7h30 am, I was on a mission as I had decided that I was finally going to have some Pecan Sticky Buns, once and for all.

I’ve used Chatelaine’s recipe and tweaked it a bit. It turned out to be quite easy to do, and oh my, sooo DELICIOUS. I will be making these on Christmas morning for sure. And you should too! Here it goes:

Pecan Sticky Buns

What you need:

Dough:

3 cups flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 pack quick-rise instant yeast

1 tsp salt

1/3 cup hot water

1/2 cup hot milk

2 tbsp melted butter

1 egg

Sauce:

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

2 tbsp honey

1 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup pecans

Filling:

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 tsp cinnamon

How to:

In a large bowl, mix1 cup of flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Add the milk, hot water, butter and egg. Using a wooden spoon, add 1 3/4 cup of flour to the bowl, all while stirring until the dough comes together. Knead the dough in the bowl for 4 minutes. Preheat your oven at 160 and insert the bowl with a damp cloth over it. Turn off oven and let rise for an hour.

Meanwhile, melt 1/4 cup of butter with 1/3 cup brown sugar, honey and vanilla in a saucepan for the sauce. Cook on medium heat until bubbly. Pour into a 9×13 baking dish. Sprinkle with chopped pecans. I only sprinkled half of the dish with the nuts, leaving half for regular buns. But definitely better with!

In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, butter and cinnamon to create a paste. Then leave aside.

Remove dough from oven. Preheat the oven at 350 for baking the buns. Sprinkle flour on a flat surface and place the dough. Using a rolling pin, spread the dough and try roll it into a square shape. It’s note easy because the dough will be stretchy, but try your best! Mine was roughly 12”x12”. Spread the brown sugar paste evenly everywhere on the dough. Then start from the bottom and roll tightly.

Using a sharp knife, cut the roll into 12 pieces of about one inch each and lay the pieces in the baking dish. Lightly brush a bit of vegetable oil on top of the buns.

Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes. Chatelaine recommend to cover with foil if they get golden too fast, but I didn’t have to do it. Remove from oven and let stand for a few minutes. The sauce will be extremely hot. Using a cookie sheet and parchment paper, cover the baking dish and flip the dish over. Be careful, this is very hot! But very good!!!

Honestly, I never had any Pecan Sticky Buns before, so I can’t really compare, but these tasted amazing. The dough was easy to make, and so soft. I will be using this recipe for donuts and bread. If you don’t bake often, this recipe is super easy. One big bowl does the trick, no need for super appliances or gadgets.

The caramel sauce with pecans is kind of addictive. I’m telling you, this recipe should definitely be part of your Holidays’ baking list; as it will not disappoint! Have a great week my friends!

  

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a wish list for everybody

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?  I have to admit that I already have a few items crossed off my shopping list.  You know, every year seems to be the same… I come up with this cool wish list but then no one gets me anything from it!!!  So this year, I’ve decided to prepare these simple wish lists, not only for myself, but for everyone you may have on your on shopping list!  I’ve always LOVED Christmas shopping, but things have change a little in the last few years, and I have to admit that I now do a large share of it online.  Shopping in the comfort of your home, while snuggling in a chunky blanket, not worrying about the traffic jam while getting out of the mall is AWESOME!  So all the items here can be bought through the links and in store as well.

 

1- Bears Reading Socks: I’m obsessed with these.  Bought myself a similar pair because I’ve been wanting one for so long and I knew Bry wouldn’t buy me these!  Now the boys both want a pair and I will buy these for sure.  So warm and chunky for the cutest toes!

2-Osmo: So my father-in-law bought this for the kids last year and we love it.  It’s great to find educational games for the Ipad, and these are so innovative.  We will for sure get the pizza parlor game this year.

3-Wifi Sweater: Always looking for different and simple clothing for the boys.  Love this sweater, and Liam would totally rock that shirt ‘cuz he’s always asking for the internet everywhere he goes!

4-Moonlite: I just found out about this and it’s awesome.  A new version of the View Master I use to have when I was little.  You attach this thing on your phone, download the app and watch the image of your favorite classic books on the ceiling.  Love, love, love this!

5-GAP Star Wars PJ’S: This one is for my Loggy.  This will probably be his last Baby Gap pajama’s (I want to cry!!!).  How fun is this Star Wars Fair Isle?  Not sure why they didn’t make it in bigger size!

6-Bath Dropz: This goes directly into their stockings.  We love Crayola Bath Dropz.  Small little pills that color the bath water and create different color combination when mixed!  Always a hit!

7-Lego: What’s not to love about this?  Lego & Cars?  Hello, this will be under our tree for sure!

1-Melissa Sugar Rain Boots: Okay, well I’m in love and I need a baby girl!  No, we’re not having another baby but these boots makes me want to!  If only they made these in my size, I would kick my old Hunters goodbye and live in these.

2-Candy Kirby Dolls: These dolls are gorgeous!  They are all handmade and comes from a small shop.  Candy Kirby also sells the most gorgeous newborn nightgowns and amazing clothing.  The boys have some sweat pants I bought 3 years ago and they still fit!  The dolls have been picked out by Nordstrom and will sell in store this holiday season!

3-Mermaid Fins: I kinda want these for myself!  Aren’t these the best?  Instead of regular feet palm, you’re a mermaid.  Enough said!

4-Guac shirt: This t-shirt sums up my life!  Please get this for your girls… because, they ARE extra!

5-The Parent Trap: I was 17 when this came out and I have probably watch this a few times a year since then.  And it still old up… well, kind of… like who would split their twins… no wonder that poor Lindsay is so messed up now!

6-Swan Slippers: OMG… these are the most fantastic slippers I’ve ever seen.  I would sooo buy them!

7-Mickey Jacket: Everybody needs a jean jacket, please stand out and pick a Mickey one!  Insert heart emoji right here!

1-The Beatles Vinyl: Anything music is always a hit in our house, but Vinyl, we LOVE.  We kept on collecting them even when they weren’t “in”, but now it’s so easy to find them and I love it.

2-Beau’s Beer: My husband has been wanting a subscription to Beau’s monthly beer delivery for a while now.  I think it’s an awesome gift for every craft beer lover.

3-Gramophone: This might be the best Christmas present I ever bought Brian.  Got it 3 years ago and not one day since then we haven’t used this Gramophone.  No cords, just insert your iPhone and the Gramophone amplifies your music.  It’s probably the most talked about object in our house.

4-Cozy blanket: Okay, so maybe this one should me on my list, but if I’m the one who asked for it, he will still be the one to steal it during movie night!

5-Chess: I think Bry has played something like 1500 games of chess in the last 2 years.  And now that the boys have started to play as well, I think this is the cutest little travel set.  We need it for on the go.

6-Red Sox t-shit: Anything Red Sox could have worked here, but I love this shirt I found on Etsy from the 2004 World Series title.  All of his favorite players from 2004.  With Pedro on it, this is for sure a winner!

7-Slippers: Found these at Nordstrom and I love them.  Perfect for winter BBQ on the deck!  Yep, you’ve read it right, we BBQ all year long, even when surrounded by 4 feet of snow.And now the perfect gifts for your Maman’s!

1-Glitter Slippers: Every Mommy needs to feel like Cinderella sometimes.  And these slippers are the answer!  Hope to find these under my tree… hint hint!

2-Festive Candle: Festive smell is one of my favorite ways to create ambiance in our home.  This mini candle is perfect for your room!

3-Lillian & Co Bracelet: My new favorite jewelry.  I wear mine every single day.  Lillian & Co is a small business that makes gorgeous bracelet with Disney quotes.  What’s not to love.

4-Harry Potter Spatula: I swear I’ll go bankrupt will all this Harry Potter merchandise that keeps popping up everywhere I go.  Williams Sonoma made these awesome spatula, now I’m hoping I’ll get the Gryffindor one… which one will you choose?

5-I love Winter hat: Although I may not want to wear this in March when I’ll be fed up with all the snow, for now, I just love love love this beautiful an soft hat.  Every body need a little sequins right?

6-Holiday PJ’s: You know I’m a sucker for festive pj’s.  My husband not so much.  Oh well, I hope to find one that matches the boys’…  and this one from Target is just adorable.

7-David’s Tea: So you have your glitter slippers on, your husband blanket and your kids’ Parent Trap movie.  Now all you need is a cup of tea.  David’s Tea is the best and their packaging are gorgeous.

Had so much fun working on these wish lists, hope you have find inspiration for every one on yours.  Can’t wait for all the festive decorations to be up in the malls and for the frenzy to start.  The holidays are truly the best time of the year.  But the best gift will always remain to be together.  Nothing beats a full house of relatives and a Christmas tree a la Clark Griswold!  Only 43 days ’till Christmas!  Happy shopping!

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my new very goodfood

I really love to cook, like I’ve always enjoy doing it, especially when I have a lot of time to do it, or when I try new recipes, or when I’m entertaining and having people over for dinner.  You know, as a younger couple, before Liam and Logan were part of our life, Brian and I used to cook and try so many different meals on weeknights; but as of late we’ve been kind of lazy, and I feel like it’s been getting worst and worst over the past few years… until we’ve realized, not too long ago, that we had fallen into some sort of weeknights meal rut where we would eat the same kind of boring meals, week after week.  But that was until my girlfriend Véro introduced me to a food delivery service she had been trying for the last few weeks… really, a way out from having spaghetti every Tuesday night?  Wow, thanks Véro, what a great timing!!!  So right there, while thinking of my next Tuesday night meal, I knew I had to give it a shot!

So It’s called Goodfood.  The day after she told me all about it I did a bit of research and I was hooked, like immediately.  The website was just awesome, easy friendly, with FAQ, information about the recipes, about where they get the food and how it will be delivered right to your door… so you select the package that is most convenient for your family, the best delivery dates, and then you get to select your meals… that was the best part, of course!  Well, it was, until the moment when I actually received my first meal kit.  Receiving my first box was so much fun.  From the very moment I signed up I had been eager to receive my first box.  I was so excited about that weeknight meal, you have no idea.  So excited to cook something fancy for my family on a Monday night!  And so excited to try something new.  And I was NOT disappointed, from the moment I opened the box until we sat for diner… as it was just so good!

First, the packaging was amazing.  My first delivery was on a warm day and I was a bit skeptical about it all, you know, with fresh produces waiting for me on my front porch… but once I opened it up, everything was nicely packed, cool and fresh, along with beautiful colored and easy to read recipes (that I will certainly keep for future use!).  Each meal as its own clear bags of produce with EVERYTHING you will need for the recipe!  If the recipe calls for one clove of garlic, then you get one clove of garlic, that simple!  There’s nothing I hate more than having to throw away good food because we didn’t use enough of it in a recipe or during the week.  With this food service, we use what we need and in the end there is so much less waste.

The only thing you might use from your kitchen is salt and pepper, olive oil and water.  Every bottles and jars are carefully labelled in English and French!  The packaging is sooo pretty, you’d think Martha Stewart packed it all herself!  Another plus, all the boxes, bags, jars and bottles can all be recycled, even the ice-packs, which is just awesome cause it’s environmentally friendly.  Which I try to be, you know.

As for the recipes… nothing short of AMAZING so far!  We’ve already tried food we had never had before and we all loved it, even the boys loved it too!  Everything is tasty and well portioned.  So, if you don’t know it yet, well so far, I am really impressed! And just to be clear, so you all understand, this is not pre-made or pre-cooked, like you may save some time in the end, but you really need some preparation and cooking time… it’s just easier to do, with all the right ingredients, spices, meats and produces right there for you… so don’t worry here, you won’t lose that feeling of being the real deal, cause with Goodfood, you still feel as the ‘Chef’ of your very own kitchen!

One of the biggest perks is that I can skip a week or two and place an order only for the weeks we want to get some food delivered.  And if I ever decide to stop, I can do it at any time.  But I don’t think I will!!!  Cause right now, I am just so happy I was introduced to Goodfood… as I’ve been pleased with all of our meal choices so far… and not only we now eat nice varied meals, it did bring back some fun and excitement to our weeknight dinners and cooking!!!

So, I’ve got a deal for you if you’d like to try it.  You can sign up using this link and get 40$ off your first order.  I’m telling you, this will cost you less than what you would pay for quality food at the grocery store in order to cook these fancy and delicious recipes.  So no reason not to try it, really!

Let me know if you’re considering trying it but still have some questions … I know I sure did when I first signed up.  I would be happy to try and help you deal with you’re weeknight meal rut and bring back some excitement into your kitchen!

So today is Monday, and guess what, I’ve just tried an awesome new Thai shrimp curry recipe!

Have fun cooking and bon appétit mylemondroplife friends!

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t’was the weekend before halloween

It was another crazy jam-packed week at our house.  I often/always make too many plans… at least this week there were a lot of Halloween’s related activities, which I’ll never get enough of!

So on Friday night, we visited Pumpkin Inferno at Upper Canada Village; where over 7000 beautiful pumpkins are all lighten up and displayed in different themes and sections of the village. We were joined by my sister-in-law, her family and matante Lulu for the evening. So right after work, we all changed and got ready to leave, picked up a super healthy diner at McDonald’s and then drove the 1:25 it takes from our house to get there. Just about 20 minutes before we arrived, I kind of had a flash that I may had forgotten the boys winter jackets. So we stopped on the side of the road, opened the trunk, to see nothing else than my own jacket in there. Yep, parents of the year, once again. The boys were wearing sweaters, but with a very cold October night ahead, we were in trouble. Well, the boys were in trouble, cause Brian and I were fine with our Fall jacket on! So we went through a couple of stores that were still opened, including the local Home Hardware, but nope, couldn’t find anything there. So we got to Upper Canada Village, parked the car, gave the boys our jackets while we were all waiting in line, and once we made it in, we got the boys a nice souvenir from Upper Canada Village: two –way too large- jackets that they’ll probably never wear again. Ah well, at least we had a great time and the boys didn’t freeze too much. It is such a beautiful place to visit, whether you love or not Halloween. I wish these pumpkins were all in my front yard!

So then on Saturday night there was a surprise party organized for my friend Karine, which turned out to be like an all-day event! But such a fun day where we all had a blast! First we had lunch at Fraser Café in Ottawa. I had never been there, and it was simply delicious. I want to go back like right now, and try other things from their awesome menu! We then took a walk on the parkway with the most gorgeous Fall weather. Then I went back home to finish the surprise birthday cake, and then back to another restaurant for the surprise party with friends and family. Seriously, I’m getting way too old for this, but since it was my friend’s birthday I went along with it… and we stayed at the pub until past 1:00 am… ouch!!! Let just say that Sunday was a very lazy day for me. We did the treat bags and carved out our pumpkin, all while watching The Nightmare Before Christmas. We had a little theme going on with Jack Skellington pie and hand painted mugs we used for hot chocolate. With all that cold rain, we really needed it! So then, painfully, I got through Sunday without even a nap.

Monday was for last minute Halloween preps. Making sure the Cars’ costumes were secure enough to bring to school, started to crimped my hair for my own costume (newfound respect for my Mom who used to do my hair like that when I was a kid and also for all the girls who were teens in the late 80’s), and then stocked the boys Halloween owl’s chairbacker with treats.

Finally, the 31 rolled in and you would have thought it was Christmas morning in our house! So much excitement, from like every one! I love this so much… we got all dressed up, even Brian who’s not really into it normally picked up some stuff from his wardrobe and dressed up as… I’m not even gonna say what he said he was, he’d be too happy if I did!

So I got dressed up as Moana, so much fun, but so cold outside with my light outfit! Then I brought the boys at school with their huge car costume. As soon as they were in they started to drive and cruise through the school’s corridors. The school hadn’t started yet but you could clearly feel the energy from all the kids excitement! Good luck teachers!

Then finally, time for trick or treating! But it was so cold outside… so I decided to leave my costume behind and settled for my Uggs boots and mittens. After 30 minutes outside, we had done every house on our street, we all had enough and got back home to dive into candy heaven! I will say this, my children have much more control over candy than I do/did as a kid! I don’t even think Liam had one piece. He counted them all, made sure he had as many as his brother, but didn’t really ate any. He did wake up this morning with way less in his bowl. Ooops! I won’t say how many I had… I’m kind of ashamed, really! LOL.

So that’s a wrap for Halloween 2017. Decoration are coming down tonight. Clean up is underway. Now, I won’t say I’m ready for Christmas already, but I got my eyes on a festive pj’s and it shouldn’t be long before it’s mine!

Hope you all had a happy Halloween and eat some candies and chocolate bars!

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