the good, the bad and the yummy

So, as the title says, I’ve got some mixed feelings about this week. So many highs and lows in a short period of time. Pure moments of happiness followed by the immediate need to crawl in bed and sleep for days until everything gets back to normal. Life is such a roller-coaster sometimes! Just a few more days until a new month begins, finally. So bring me all the heart stuff and birthday cake this February, cause this girl is ready (to turn 37, oh boy)!!!

We’ve all been sick since the beginning of January, and just when I thought things were taking a turn for the best, BOOM, Logan gets hit by it. Our poor baby has had a fever since Saturday, and he’s now been diagnosed with Scarlet fever. So, he’s missed all week of school and has spent numerous hours in hospital and clinics. I’m crossing my fingers that we’re in the home stretch! He’s been so amazing, thought, as he barely complained through it all! Unlike myself, as I feel like I’ve complained all week about everything; but I am just so tired of everyone being sick at home and not being able to enjoy winter like we normally do. Hopefully I will catch up on the missed hours of sleep this weekend.

So that was the bad in one short paragraph, now here’s the good! I actually feel like “the good” doesn’t quite describe what happened to me… it’s more like as if I am a different person now, and I will never be the same anymore… so I guess I should consider my last Thursday night movie date with my girl friend Véro as a life changing event, and nothing less! You might think that I am being a tad dramatic here when I say life changing, but that is the closest thing to how I feel, so bare with me! A few weeks ago, we had planned to go see The Greatest Showman last Thursday… so with 3 hours of sleep the night before, I was a bit tired, but still felt as if I needed a night off to the movies more than anything else. And thank God for it. From the first few seconds of this future Oscar winning movie I was hooked and already in love with all of it. Now thinking about it, I can’t believe I didn’t go see that movie before and that my life has been deprived of such entertainment for a full month! Well NO MORE! The soundtrack will play on and on from now on and until probably like forever! As I was watching the movie, at some point I felt like I might be having a heart attack: I was having such a rush, with so much to see, with the music, the colors, the costumes and the story line, which kept on taking my breath away for the full two hours. It’s a musical, so it may not be for everyone (I almost disowned my own mother after she told me she didn’t like La La Land as I couldn’t take the rejection!). But if you do enjoy musicals and want to be entertained while being taken away at a time when show business was a new thing, give it a chance and you won’t be sorry! I still have chills thinking about it and wondering when I can squeeze-in another viewing. The soundtrack is playing in the background as I am writing this, so I may have gotten taken away myself… but hopefully it does win an Oscar!

Now, for the yummy, or my second life changing event of the week: The Croque Monsieur! Oh yes, I am all over the place this week; no worry, I already know! So a few days before Christmas we had lunch at Art Is In Bakery in Ottawa and it was simply delicious. I think it may have been my first time having a real Croque Monsieur. And it was delicious. With all the crappiness of the last couple of days, well I decided to try and make my own homemade Croque Monsieur. LIFE CHANGING. (May I remind you that The Greatest Showman soundtrack is still playing in the background, so I may be feeling excessively joyful while thinking of Croque Monsieur and Hugh Jackman and I may be just over exaggerating a little here, calling a sandwich life changing, but it is still really something, I swear!). I was sitting alone in the kitchen, working on my never ending Harry Potter puzzle (the fabulous life of a blogger) when I had a moment of pure happiness as I took my first bite. Yes, this sandwich did and will give you happiness. So, I’m sharing this recipe with you while adding that you should definitely run to the supermarket and make it this weekend. You will thank me for it! Whoever said money can’t buy happiness is probably right, but money can buy cheese, and cheese makes me happy; so here goes this recipe!

Croque Monsieur

What you need:

4 slices of bread (I used Italiano bread)

a few slices of Black Forrest Ham

2 cup of Gruyere cheese shredded

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

3/4 cup milk

1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard

pinch of nutmeg

salt and pepper

How to:

First you have to make the Bechamel sauce. Don’t worry, super easy; it was my first time and it turned out great! In a small saucepan, melt the butter on medium heat and then add the flour. Whisk non-stop for about 2-3 minutes. Then slowly add the milk, a little bit at a time, while still whisking. Mix until smooth and thick. Remove from heat, add the Dijon, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Let cool down before using. I made the Bechamel the day before and stored it in the fridge until I was ready to use.

Heat the oven at 425. Place parchment paper on the bottom of a baking sheet. Place two bread slices on the baking sheet and spread some Bechamel sauce on one side of each. Don’t be shy with the sauce, it’s amazing. Place the ham on top of the Bechamel and then add 1/2 cup of the Gruyere on each. Spread some sauce on both sides of the two unused slices of bread and place them both on top of the cheese and ham. Use the remaining of the Gruyere and cover the top of both sandwiches. Place in oven until the cheese is melted, for about 10 minutes, then broil for a few minutes until golden, but keep an eye on it, as you don’t want to burn them.

I ate my Croque Monsieur with a light salad and it was great. It’s so filling, that honestly you don’t really need a side, but the freshness of the lettuce helps balance the richness of the sandwich.

So, here’s my advice to you, run to the supermarket to get some nice Gruyere and ham, make the Croque Monsieur for lunch or even diner; then, put on your sweatpants and head out to the movie theater to watch The Great Showman. Your hearts and tummies will be thankful! Have a great weekend my friends.

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zombies are coming

I’m now officially the mom of a 7 year old. Not sure how we got here, but for sure it did happen WAY too fast! Mind-blowing how time flies; like even if you take the time to enjoy every day and every little thing they do, you always end up not knowing how they grew up so quick. He was a baby a minute ago and now he’s a little boy who loves to argue with me, sometimes even questioning my motherhood’s decision making skills. Yeah, mind-blowing isn’t it?

So, a few weeks ago I was chatting with Liam about what theme he wanted for his upcoming birthday party. He smiled, and then answered, pretty sure of himself, with one word: ZOMBIES!!! Yep… cute birthday themes (that I choose and then make him believe he’s the one who got the idea in the first place) are officially over. I really tried to make him change his mind, but he was having none of it. So I caved… then started to look for Plants VS Zombies stuff… and found next to nothing. So printing images and cutting them became my main activities during the last few days prior to the B-day party.

One of the best thing about this year’s birthday party preparations is that we mostly did it all together. The boys were really into it, and I got to say that their cutting and scotch taping skills are much better now! They really worked hard on setting up the game wall; and they did an awesome job at it! They also helped me bake the cake and then watched me very closely as I was making the fondant plants and zombies cake decorations. My heart is full every time I bake with them, even with Zombies everywhere!

The first party was Friday night; and on Thursday morning I called my mom requesting some help and some zombie hats. By the end of the day she had picked up the boys from school, cleaned my floors, made diner and knitted two cute zombie hats for the boys. They were ecstatic when they saw it! Liam’s been wearing his non-stop this week. Thanks Mom, you are truly the best! Friday night was really laid back, pizza night with our friends, no agenda, with the kids playing downstairs, putting on shows and playing hockey and stuff while we were all chatting in the kitchen. There was no meltdown during cake time this year… unlike 2 years ago when the boys lost it as soon as the girls started to eat the fondant on the back of the crocodile cake while we were singing happy birthday… made pretty funny pictures, though! So Liam made some 7th year old birthday wishes and then the kids shared ‘brain’ and ‘plants’ cupcakes. And that was it for party number one.

Next day, on Liam’s actual birthday, we started the celebrations with birthday French toasts and gifts. Well, no, gifts then French toasts, as he had already asked for some b-day gifts before I was even out of bed! After that we played games all day long while waiting for our family to arrive. On the menu: spaghetti and pizza (both Liam’s favorite food) and then some more cake. We love having our family over for birthdays and I hope it will never stop… the house might be full but that’s what it’s for, and that’s how we like it!

Then on Sunday, we had invited Liam’s best friend to join us for a fun day full of activities. First, we went to play a game of laser-tag… where I finished in first place, out of 9 players! I got to say that my laser-tag skills are pretty amazing! Then, lunch at McDonald’s, because when you ask 3 boys where they want to eat, that’s what you get. And then we finished our day at Flying Squirrel, an indoor trampoline park. They all really loved it. It’s actually rare that Liam gets crazy excited about a activity (beside playing games on the Nintendo or Ipad), so I really enjoyed watching him having fun while running and jumping everywhere with his friend Gab and Logan. He had the best of time and we can’t wait to be back.

It was a pretty amazing birthday for our boy. He’s so special, and kind. Not sure how I got so lucky to be his mom, but I’ll take it. When he woke up, I wished him Happy Birthday, and he just looked at me and told me Happy Birthday right back… I asked him why and he said it was my birthday too, because 7 years ago I became a Mom. This one sure knows how to make me cry. So it was my birthday too, I guess. So, even if I couldn’t choose the birthday theme this year, it was still an awesome weekend as we had to celebrate our baby. Like it says in my favorite song from when I was pregnant with him seven years ago: ‘There’s nothing that I wouldn’t do, Go to the ends of this Earth for you, To make you feel my love’.

Bonne fête Crocky d’amour!

Love you so much,

Mom xox


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that kind of week, plus a tomato soup

I won’t lie to you, this week was a mess. Sick, tired, in pain, all that while planning a birthday party and having to go back to school. But, still trying to stay positive and pushing through the week, anxiously waiting for a bit of rest and for Liam’s 7th birthday this Saturday.

On January 2nd, right after all the Christmas and NYE festivities were over, with one week off work (and school) to go, I woke up with a sharp pain in my lower back… So, no snowshoeing or playing outside in the snow with the boys during the last few days of our holidays, mainly just trying to limit my movements while on pain killers. Then, strep throat kicked in by Friday night, killing all of our weekend plans. I’ve had two bouts of strep throat in October and thought it was enough for the year, but no, I had to go through hell one more time, only to end my vacation sick in bed, basically sleeping and aching for 48 hours straight. Then it was Brian’s turn to go through it. And he got it pretty bad… Now he knows exactly what I been through in October and a few days ago! But still, I do not wish this to anyone, trust me. 

Let’s just say it’s not the smooth back to school I was hoping for! Both of us sick, taking turns heating the magic bag, taking naps, while mainly living on a soup diet. Mmm, soup! So now that I’m feeling better, I’d like to share the Creamy Tomato Soup recipe that got me through this awful week; just in case you’re feeling blue like I did or just because once in a while everyone need a great homemade tomato soup! 

What you need:

2 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup dice onions

1 glove garlic, minced

2 tablespoon tomato paste

1 can crushed tomato

3 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup heavy cream

salt and pepper

How to:

In a large saucepan, heat on medium heat the olive oil. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes, then add the garlic, salt and pepper and cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste, chicken stock and the crushed tomato can. Cook on low for 30 minutes, stirring once in a while. Remove from heat and using an immersion blender, or a regular one, blend the soup. Add the cream and mix well. Serve immediately with homemade baguette croutons or a grilled cheese. 

It was my first time making this recipe and it beats any canned tomato soup for sure. So comforting and delicious and creamy. Great on any winter day, but simply the best when you’re sick and your throat hurts like hell, believe me!

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new year and a leftover sandwich

Happy New Year My lemon drop life friends! Hope you had the best of time ringing in the new year; I know we sure did! Last year we went on this beautiful sleigh ride on the 31st which ended up being one of my all-time fav NYE ever. This year we were planning on doing the exact same thing, so we had booked a sleigh ride at Fairmont Château Montebello on Sunday afternoon with some of our best friends, but with the extreme cold weather, sadly, we had to cancel. Instead, we opted for indoor activities –virtual golf for the boys and movies for the moms and kids-, followed by take-out dinner from the best Indian restaurant, lots of board games, champagne and cupcakes, sparkles and crowns, as well as fun eats and treats for everyone!

For the last couple of years we’ve been hosting New Year’s Eve at our place with our friends and their kids; but don’t get excited here, as it is nothing fancy or complicated like the NYE parties we used to go to years ago. Nope, we’re now just a bunch of people who want to spend the last evening of the year in pure laziness wearing pyjama’s while enjoying music, drinks, but still, with a lot of fun times on the menu. Yep, that’s just the way I like it!

This year the kids actually all stayed up late enough to celebrate the NYE countdown with us. I can still remember a time when we had play pens installed in every rooms of the house for all the sleeping babies. Not anymore! They played downstairs by themselves for most of the night, building forts, playing Mario Kart, watching a movie and singing karaoke! Next year I’m bringing that karaoke system upstairs, and it will be the mom’s turn to put on a NYE show!

All the kids went to bed clearly past their bedtime, some of them falling asleep on the couch and some others asking to go to bed; but not Liam, as he was still chatting with us in the living room at like 1:30 am when he finally fell asleep on the couch. We really need to go back to our regular schedule asap, if not, next Monday’s return to school will be brutal! So next morning was pretty lazy and relax with everyone waking up later than usual. We made it a bit late to my mom’s brunch, which consisted of delicious homemade paninis (in the panini grill I got her for Christmas!), salads and potatoes. Miam! We then played card games and bingo with the boys in the afternoon where I won a flute, Logan some cut off gloves and Liam a toonie.

On New Year’s Day we always go for dinner at Lulu’s place with the Woodbury family, and this year was no exception. I’d say that Brian’s aunt served dinner for something like 40 relatives over something like five different sittings. Yeah, a full-on turkey dinner with all the fixings that was beyond amazing; all that plus a choice of five different kind of pies for dessert. I don’t know how she does it! The boys had a blast with their cousins making Snapchat videos, paper airplane contests and jumping up and down the basement walls and couches. By the end of the evening, they were exhausted and it didn’t take three minutes for them to fall asleep when we left. And that concluded the holiday season for us. I’m sad that it’s all over, but at the same time I’m glad that I can now spend a few days at home with the boys with nothing planned; PJs all day being the only thing on the schedule for now!

The Christmas decorations are down, the tree is in the garage, the house is mostly cleaned-up from our NYE party, so it’s almost back to normal, other than the fact that we’re still basically living on leftovers. So if you’re like us and have some of that delicious turkey left, you’ll enjoy this awesome recipe; which is definitely the best way to get rid of your leftovers in an amazing and delicious way; here it goes!

What you need:
-Crusty bread
-Leftover turkey
-Cranberry jelly
-A few Brie cheese slices
-Granny Smith apple

How to:
Butter the crusty bread on both sides. Mix 2 tablespoons of mayo with 2 tablespoons of the cranberry jelly. Spread on one side of both pieces of bread. Add turkey, apple slices and Brie cheese. Top with the second bread slice. Using a panini maker or a cooking pan, grill the bread until golden (turning once if using a pan). Cut in half and enjoy! Such an easy way to enjoy some delicious turkey and that amazing holiday taste one last time!

Hope you’ve made some good resolutions for the new year. I’m still trying to figure out mine, but as always, trying to be a better person will surely be on top of the list. Then reading, running and travelling more! 2017 was great to me and my family… but I’m ready for more and I can’t wait to see what 2018 will bring us. Happy New Year everyone, let’s hope it’s a good one!

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