So I swore to myself that I would be better at blogging this fall. Well that was a total fail. Last time I posted something was after our Boston trip which already seems to have happened so long ago, sometime last summer. Well fall isn’t over, so let’s do this.
Fall is usually my favorite season, yet, this year, it feels like it’s simply slipping by while I didn’t get a chance to do all the things I wanted to do. So here’s what happened in the last few months:
SCHOOL: A month and a half later, it feels like we are finally getting our groove back! I won’t lie, last year was HARD. Like really, really hard. Long story short, second grade was terrible for Liam. His anxiety went from being a subtle on and off thing to being at an all-time high and all over the place. He was in such a bad place at some point we hardly recognized him. But summer was great, and he got to recharge fully (and so did I), and he was so ready to tackle 3rd grade. Things are way better for him now, and we finally feel like we can all breathe again. He’s got an amazing teacher and some great support at school, as well as some great friends, and we are so thankful that he seems happy again. Keep up the good work! And our Logan… well it’s like Loggy being Loggy, days in, days out! He loves school, he loved finally having some homework to do like his big brother (this new found love actually lasted for about 5 minutes), he’s friend with everyone and he’s just a happy go getter. Crossing my fingers that things keep on looking up for him the way it has so far.
BEAU’S OKTOBERFEST: What a great time we had. Another EPIC weekend in Vankleek Hill for us. Probably one of the best one ever, yet! We partied hard with our best friends Mathieu and Vero on Friday night, which means we stayed way past my pre-set curfew for the Friday night, but in the end, it was all worth it! We shared so much food… it’s crazy how much food we end up eating every year during that weekend. I only go for the food, and boy oh boy did Oktoberfest delivered this year again! Just writing about it makes me hungry. Let’s just say walking back to the car wasn’t easy with two drunks while I felt completely stuffed. On Saturday, we were joined by Karine and Catherine, our Oktoberfest annual and forever buddies… We should actually write a book of ALL the things that happened through the years at Oktoberfest. We had the craziest time this year again. So much I want to share, yet, some of it probably un-sharable! So, as for the food, this year’s first place definitely goes to the Cheshire Cat Pub’s Reuben Sandwich and the Malted Milk Chocolate Peanut Dip Bar from Pascale’s Ice Cream. If you were at Beau’s Oktoberfest and didn’t try any of these two items, then what’s the point of even going? Seriously, you need to go to Beau’s Oktoberfest and try both of these next year!!!
KITCHEN: Nervous breakdowns happened on every Sunday for the last month. Why? Because we’re in the midst of our kitchen renos. Yep! And it’s been quite the challenge to say the least. Patience being one of my strong suits… NOT, definitely made this a more challenging project than I thought it would be. We had the backsplash removed, the wall prepped, the counter removed and then a new one installed and the new backsplash installed by Granstone, and until then, the project was going smoothly and the results were simply amazing. Then, it was our turn to take our wooden cabinets and paint them white. Sounds like a simple task, right? Well no, it isn’t! So we removed our 50 doors and drawers, washed and primed them as per the sales lady had told me when I bought the primer. FAIL… such an EPIC FAIL. The paint was peeling off and so was my sanity. We asked our friends who had re-done their kitchen and they confirmed that NO, it’s probably impossible to do this without sanding first. Pretty sure they thought I was stupid when I told them I had bought this primer who would do the job without even sanding first. Ugghhh!!! So we had to scrape the primer off of every door, sand everything, and then start all over again. Let’s just say I’ve literally painted and swore at my cabinet doors every single day over the past month. Now, finally, for the last few days we’ve been installing them back on, and it looks sooo good! My new kitchen is AMAZING, and just how I had imagined it would be: so white and so bright, and I am in love with it! Definitely more to follow on that as soon as we’re completely done!
HP TRAIN: You all know how Harry Potter obsessed we are. So when I found out about a HP train ride in the Ottawa region, I signed us up. For five bucks each… let’s say I was not expecting much. Boy was I wrong. Of course we showed up wearing our finest HP gear and we were so happy we did. The Smith Falls Train Museum was totally transformed by magic and to say we had a blast is an understatement. Local vendors, photo booth, a Quidditch game with brooms, a cupcake vendor that was simply amazing as well as a short but awesome train ride. We didn’t wanted to leave. It was the best 5$ I’ve spent this fall for sure. I can hardly wait for next year to visit again. Zero expectation turned out to be the best Saturday for all of us. And a quick shout-out to the Black Lory who sold us the cutest handmade HP dolls. Liam got a snitch while Logan got the hippogriff. I didn’t get any, but kind of regretted not buying the Luna doll, so that same night I placed an order online for one, and then decided to get the Sirius Black as well while I was at it! This will make great Halloween gifts for the boys. They will be so excited when they see them. So two thumbs up for the Smith Falls Train Museum, we will definitely be back next year. Check out for the Christmas train as well, you just might see us there!
PUMPKIN PATCH: It’s mid-October and until a few days ago, there were still no pumpkin in front of my house. This is sooo not me! So on Saturday morning, first thing, I told the boys we were going to the Pumpkin Patch to get ourselves some pumpkins, which is something they actually love doing as much as I do. Since I’ve heard about this place in Gatineau about 3 years ago, I don’t think I could ever go anywhere else to get our pumpkins, even if it’s like close to an hour from home. Courges & Cie is simply the best, with the most beautiful pumpkins and squash, the best pumpkins donuts and pumpkins poutine, with some play structures for the kids, and everything you need to entertain the whole family for a few hours while picking up your pumpkins directly from the pumpkin patch.
So now that the leaves have turned, the nights are a bit colder and the day a bit crispier, it’s time to relax and enjoy the moment, and light up my new favorite pumpkin pecan waffles candle, drink some PSL while wearing my new favorite reading socks and start cooking some tasty fall meals in my new favorite kitchen. Enjoy fall everyone, I know I will.
We were NOT supposed to go to Boston this summer. I repeat, we were NOT supposed to visit Boston. I actually made myself pretty clear that I wanted to skip Boston this summer. But the power of being outnumbered definitely won this one! So we went to Boston.
We had already planned our summer road trips (you can read about our trips to Picton and Kingston), but then at Logan’s bday party, we started chatting about a shopping trip that turned into a “Let’s go to Boston” trip.
So right after I lost that one, being the planner that I am, I started looking for new things to do in Boston, since it was like our 8th or 9th trip there in the last 12 years. Well, even after all these trips, we realised that there were still so many new things to do or discover! We spent 3 days in Boston and went to so many new places, and old, like Fenway Park!
Oh, I’ve decided that instead of sharing our itinerary, I would share our favorite spots in beautiful Boston.
1- Fenway Park: Home of the Boston Red Sox, America’s Most Beloved Ballpark, and Brian’s favorite place in the world. Of course this is the number one on my list!!! Fenway is THE reason why we visited Boston in the first place in 2007 and definitely one of the top reasons why we fell in love with the City of Boston. And coming from a non-baseball-fan, I gotta say, Fenway Park is something else. We’ve been to more than 20 games over the years and we will keep on going to some more every time we will visit Boston, cause even if I hate baseball, I have to go to Fenway if I’m in Boston. This is the oldest ballpark in the U.S. and it has so much history and charm that you can’t help but falling in love the moment you see it. From the tail gating around the stadium, the Green Monster, the delicious foods and beers, the people, the music and the entire stadium singing Sweet Caroline in the 8th inning, I’m telling you, you want to go to Fenway. Go Sox!
2- Boston Common: Probably my favorite place to be in Boston. It’s like a peaceful heaven in the middle of this huge city. The trees and flowers are splendid. You can walk for hours, have a picnic or listen to artist playing. But my favorite way to enjoy the scenery is definitely by taking the Swan Boat ride. A 4$ ride in a large peddle driven boat that circles a pond in the middle of the park. Best 4$ EVER spent, make that 8$, I’ve ridden it twice now!
3- Food: If you know me, well you know that I would travel far just to try amazing food, and Boston never fails to meet my expectations when it comes to food. Some of our favs: Maggiano’s, our favorite restaurant in the city. You have to get the mozzarella sticks and the crème brûlée AND the gnocchi’s. Basically, just get everything on the menu and you won’t be disappointed! Also, a mention to Starbucks, which you can find every 100 steps from everywhere you are, including from my hotel room! We’ve also had a really great time and food at Cheers. You should add it to your list, just for nostalgia! We’ve been to Boston so many times and so many people recommended different places, but we just love our Maggiano’s and Cheesecake Factory so much that it is very difficult to try new things. Next time thought, we’ll do it. I am making myself a promise that we’ll do it!
4- Trolley Tours: We did our first trolley tour of Boston this year (for less than 20$ per person on Groupon) and I couldn’t recommend it more. This was sooo awesome! We ventured to places we had never visited and we loved it. The trolley drivers are the best tour guides, as they know so much about the history of the city and love to share fun and quirky personnel stories. Brian’s favorite quote was ‘’so here’s the only pub in America where you can actually enjoy a cold Sam Adams in front of a cold Sam Adams’’. Yeah, there’s like a cemetery on the other side of the road and that’s where Sam Adam was buried. I guess it was funnier with the Boston accent! So here’s the link of the trolley, you should try it. Our favorite stops were definitely the USS Constitution, a War of 1812 navy ship which looks like the Black Pearl as well as the Boston Common.
5- Salem: I know Salem isn’t Boston per say, BUT I have to include it in my list. What’s not to love for a Halloween addict like me? Magic, mysteries, century old cemetery and so much more. If I have one recommendation, visit during the month of October. You will be blown away. Have a coffee and a sweet treat at Gulu-Gulu Café, lunch at Boston Burger Company (in Salem) for a crazy delicious burger and drinks and diner at Howling Wolf Taqueria. Amazing margaritas and guac! You won’t be sorry but you may get tipsy if you drink 4 margs in an hour like Brian did! So much to do during the month of October, check online when you’re planning your road trip. We once went in early October during the Food Truck Festival –hello awesome– and we all loved it!
6- Harvard Square: My husband probably wish that our boys will attend Harvard University for his own selfish reason of being close to the Sox. I, on the other hand, only want to enjoy Harvard Square without the tuition fees! Best thing to do, get yourself a cup of coffee and so some people watch! Another fav from my husband, play a game of chess in the park. Also, this year, we found the cutest gift and flower shop, Petali, with a Harry Potter theme. So yep, I fell in love and crossed the street without even looking if there were cars coming the moment I saw it. They even gift wrapped our purchase for the boys in the cutest HP style. You now have my undying love! I just want to go back and buy the Luna sunglasses and the wrapped owl. Maybe next year!!! Also, Harvard students are offering tours, which we never did but look fun, so we may try this next time we’re around.
7- Quincy Market: A great place to try out a variety of food, snacks and drinks. Hello Magnolia Bakery, I love you too! My niece Noemie and I left Brian and Jojo on a terrace where they serve margs and went on a shopping spree. There are so many cute one of a kind shops as well as many top brand stores all together. Wish we hadn’t had plans later that day so I could catch the outdoor movie (it was Mamma Mia!) that Quincy Market was hosting. Once again, check their website prior to visiting. You never know what’s happening at Quincy. From there, you can do the Freedom Trail, walk to the Boston Aquarium or play in the city splash pad like Logan did last year!
8- New England Aquarium: We brought the boys last year and we were in awe. Huge and interesting exhibits, fun layouts with hands-on zones and outdoors shows/learning experiences. Our favorite was the rays’ exhibit for sure. I do recommend you buy your tickets in advance and hit the aquarium first time in the morning as it gets crowded really fast and the line-ups gets super long. And then have lunch by the harbor where the view is stunning. There’s also a whale watching tour available on site. Would totally do this if I weren’t scared shitless of whales (one of my secret shame from the first time I watched Free Willy!)
9-Bike Ride: During one of our first trip to Boston, we parked our car far from Fenway Park, visited downtown a bit, and then decided on a whim to hitch a ride from a bike carriage to get to the ball park. We had so much fun and laughed like (and probably looked like) two idiots… although we thought we were going to die before we’d get there, going through traffic and in between cars. Definitely something fun and different to visit the city. You also need to try this in NYC – it so much fun but careful as you may have a heart attack!
Oh Boston, we love you. So much things do to, yet we always seems to go back and hit our favourite spots. Next time, my plan is to catch a game, eat good food and make a day trip to Cape Cod! If you haven’t already, you really do need to add Boston as one of your next destinations. The possibilities are endless and so is the fun! Boston, you’ve been awesome to us, and you never disappoint, so I guess we’ll see you soon… and just like they say in the song at Fenway, ‘’Oh, Boston, you’re my home’’!
After spending 2 beautiful days in PEC, we decided to add another destination to our short but awesome Ontario road trip: Kingston. I like to think that I’ve travelled a bit, yet, I had never visited Kingston before, which is like two hours away from home. Brian had gone there once for work before and he loved it, so we decided to go.
We had spent the first few days of our trip just the four of us, but my Mom and Frank were joining us for this leg of the trip. Now that we were 6, we decided to try an Airbnb instead of two hotel rooms. We went back and forth trying to figure out where to stay, and man oh man did I made the right choice. I’m so glad we decided to go with my pick! Hello AMAZING!
We arrived in Kingston around lunch time and decided to have lunch on the terrace at The Kingston Brewing Company. With a view on the water, delicious homemade food, craft beers and drinks, we had the perfect start to our time in Kingston. After lunch we decided to simply walk around and explore, which included sitting by the water while Logan was running around trying to scare the seagulls. We booked a trolley tour for the next day and then walked to our home away from home. I call this home because I was sooo pretending that I lived there! A 175 years old, 3 storey stone house, full of character, with unique features which are just too crazy amazing to explain. We took a few pictures but they really don’t do the house any justice. If you’re ever in the Kingston region and you need a place to stay… the Captain Burn’s house is definitely where you want to go!
The boys needed to blow some steam before diner so we took them to the Mini-Golf and Go-Kart track. Of course, the child sitting with me lost the race which then turned into a meltdown, but we still managed to have a blast!
Diner at Olivea was simply perfect. All of our pasta dishes were AMAZING, and the warm bread was delish! We once again had a table on the terrace, and I just love that!
One of the best asset of our Airbnb house was the location. Five minute walk from the lake and the busiest streets, which mean we didn’t even needed to use the car, we just walked everywhere we wanted to go. When we weren’t walking, it’s because we were on the Trolley tour! We visited many Canadian landmarks and learned so much, I definitely recommend it if you are visiting Kingston. I honestly feel like it’s the best way to learn about the history of a city. The trolley brings you to all the major and not so major parts of the city while the drivers share personal stories about it.
We then had lunch at Chez Piggy, which was the boys’ decision simply cause they thought the name and the pig on the sign was funny. Well they made a smart choice as we sat on one of the coolest patio in town, they had Wi-Fi and some Beau’s IPA, something for all of the boys in my life. Our server was great and the food was good, so I would totally recommend having drinks and snacks there if you can snatch a table outside.
As part of our hop on hop off, we visited Fort Henry but didn’t pay for the real tour of the fort, instead we simply walked around and enjoyed one of the best views of the city. I find that the boys are still a bit young to understand or care about why this place was built and what it represents. They do understand a lot of English (thanks to You Tube), but listening about our history was a bit of a challenge for them. I would like to take them back to Kingston once they understand a bit more about our heritage.
One thing you DO have to do in Kingston is to SHOP! Princess Street and the surrounding streets are simply amazing! We loved to wander through the streets and go from one store to the other. I’m in love with all the one of a kind shops and boutiques. My fav has to be Midori, a Japanese store with all kind of unique stuff, ranging from Hello Kitty to Pokémon. I could have stayed there for hours!
So on our second night while we were having diner on the rooftop terrace of Jack Astor’s, Brian was scrolling through is Instagram and then he just looked at me and yelled “Rory Taillon is in Kingston, TONIGHT”. So let me tell you about Rory Taillon. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know we visit Beau’s Oktoberfest every year religiously. At Oktoberfest we usually just walk around all day, drink beer, and eat food, without any agenda, except for the Rory Taillon’s gig, which is the thing he can’t miss during the weekend. I’m not kidding, he’s like a real groupie for this guy. And he’s been after me to go to a show forever!
So when he found out about the show happening that night, it was a no brainer, and he told us that we all had to go. The show was at Mussikki Café, which was like 70 meters away from where we were having diner. So we made our way through this tiny bar that opens up on like the best courtyard ever, with a huge tree, hanging lights everywhere, mix matched tables and Rory Taillon in the middle. My husband was star struck!!! The show was about to start but he still managed to buy his vinyl record and chat with him for a minute. My mom and Frank stayed for a little while but then left to bring the boys home while we stayed and watched the show. I have to agree with him, it was an amazing experience. His voice is really something and we both loved our evening. It was the perfect ending to our getaway.
So our time in PEC and Kingston was coming to an end, but with so many good memories. So many things about our trip surprised us. I knew we would have a good time, after all, every vacation is awesome, but I never thought I would enjoy this one so much! Of course I wish we would travel to Europe and to some far away destinations, but for now, in this season of life, we decided that we were gonna stay close to home, and we were so lucky to find some really great places that we now love.
Not sure where our next adventure will be (well, we did road tripped to Boston the following week!), but I know that everywhere we go, we keep on finding new amazing things to do, which is the best. Well that, and also spending time together. See you later Kingston!
If you ask me where I want to go next, I will immediately say Disney. If Disney isn’t an option, well I have a long list of other places I want to visit, and until not long ago, Picton was not on it. Honestly, I had never really imagined I would want to go to Picton one day. Like I didn’t really knew much about it and had not really paid any attention to that part of our province before… well that completely changed the day I saw those pretty pink doors! You can call it the power of pink. Yep, pink freakin doors on what is now the cutest motel I’ve ever stayed at! I stumbled upon these now famous doors in late 2017, and ever since, I’ve been obsessed about visiting The June Motel in Picton. Which I just did!
So one night earlier in July, with absolutely no summer vacation plan ahead, and with all of my friends literally traveling either across the world or across Canada, I was kind of bummed about my summer so far. So right before going to bed, I begged Brian that we should really GO on a road trip to The June Motel in Picton. He didn’t really know anything about Picton other than The June Motel since I had been talking about it for over a year now. Well let’s just say that he wasn’t too hard to convince once he had Googled what to do in Picton and saw all the vineyards in the area! So by midnight, he had booked us a room at The June Motel and we finally had a destination… well three destinations I should say, since he actually bargained a stop in Kingston on our way back and then a road trip to Boston to go see his beloved Red Sox the following week. But guess what, no problem my friend, ANYTHING you want as long as you bring me in front of those pretty pink doors so I can take a selfie!!!
Now, all I had to do was to find places to visit, where to eat, things to do and plan all the pictures I was about to take! We were bringing the boys with us, so it wasn’t only going to be a grown up trip to wineries and breweries, as we had to find things to do for them as well. Well that ended up not being a problem at all while visiting wineries and breweries, you’ll see why later on.
We were going to stay 2 nights at The June, and my excitement was over the roof! So we left on our road trip on Monday morning, with a latte in one hand and my camera in the other. Prince Edward County is a short 2 hours and 45 minutes’ drive from home, or a bit longer if you’re like my husband and always insist on taking the back roads. So after a short discussion, which I lost, we ended up on the scenic route between Gananoque and PEC. Even I have to admit that this was the right thing to do, cause for about half an hour more we got to enjoy the beautiful view alongside the St-Lawrence. We even took a ferry from the mainland to PEC, which was the best, especially for the boys – for the three boys I mean.
Since we made it there around lunch time and check-in was still a few hours away, we decided to hit the Parson’s Brewery first. Brian had heard about it from friends and colleagues, and wow, what a great way to start our PEC tour. From the moment we arrived we knew we were going to love the place. They have such a great spot and landscape for a brewery; AND they have entertainment for the kids. I have to admit that going to PEC with kids was a bit intimidating. My boys are usually pretty well behave when they are entertained, and when they are not entertained, well we always have the iPad ready to keep them busy. In PEC, while visiting a winery or brewery or distillery, they weren’t even interested in the iPad as they would find something fun to do everywhere we’d go. At Parsons, the first thing they did was to ask for their Polaroid to take pictures. Then, we got a great table on the outside patio. Well, all of their tables and sitting areas are pretty amazing. The boys ran around the property for hours, playing ping-pong, bocce ball, horseshoes, while spending most of their time climbing on the wooden play structure with the other kids there. They only came to us when they were thirsty from running around, and then they were off again to the play structure. As for us, we enjoyed our food and drinks and cheered to our two week vacation together. Brian had a flight of beers and a charcuterie board that was delicious. I had a lovely Hibiscus Mocktail and some fresh guacamole and chips. Perfect start to our journey! The boys made some friends and didn’t want to leave, which usually means they had the best of time. We were all very happy that our vacay started at Parson’s Brewery.
Then we stopped a small winery on our way back, Black Prince. We had fun walking around, visiting the barn and watching the outdoor pizza oven (I so want one in my backyard!) and took some more pictures while Brian had a few tastings. Then, it was finally time to head out to the main purpose of our visit, our pink-door-motel!
LOVE!!! It’s the only way I can explain how I felt when we arrived! The boys were so excited for me and the pink doors! They knew this was for me and they were so happy about it. They have the cutest lobby ever where we were greeted with Rosé by the friendliest staff. After Brian had finished his and mine Rosé glasses, we finally got our retro room key and on our way we were to room 6! We’ve stayed in really nice hotels before, and I kind of feel stupid saying this, but I don’t remember being this excited about opening the door of a hotel room before. So I opened the door and our room was A M A Z I N G! We were in love with it the moment we stepped in. The boys thought it was the cutest room ever and I had to agree. So fun, fresh and girly, yet, my 3 men loved everything about it.
Brian unpacked while I was busy taking pictures of everything! And I mean everything, from the wallpaper, to the cute note from the cleaning ladies, the pink bathroom, the mini fridge, the beds, the pillows, and of course a million shots of our pink door! Instagram dream location alert!!!
Once we had settled in our room, we decided to go visit the Picton village, which is about 3 minutes away. You can even rent, free of charge, gorgeous bikes from The June, but since we had the boys with us, we couldn’t use them during our stay. Picton is a small and cute town, with a perfect main street just like I love it, where you’ll find an old movie theater, hip coffee shops, a book store, some other one of a kind stores and so much more. The vibe is mellow, with nobody in a rush, where everyone seems to be having a great time. We were starving and decided to have dinner at The Vic Café, a modern and colourful diner restaurant. We had a huge booth with colourful pillows, to-draw placemats as well as a huge bright window to do some people watching! The boys even showed us a card game they have learned at school that we now can’t stop playing. I got the burger and it was sooooo good! Brian got the butter chicken which seemed delicious, while the boys had… PANCAKES! They thought it was the best thing ever to have breakfast for dinner. Logan’s new thing is to say ‘I know you’re going to say no, but I would like to…’ when asking for something. So let’s say they were both really impressed with me when I said yes to pancakes for dinner. Now they want to do this at home, we’ll see about that! I really recommend The Vic Café if you visit Picton. They also have a great patio, but it was cloudy and a bit cold on our first day so we opted for indoors. Next time we will definitely try the patio.
Back at The June, it was Movie Monday. They set up a large screen on the patio where you can watch some old time 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s movies by the fire with a glass of Rosé, craft beer, popcorn, and of course S’MORES! Unfortunately for us, the movie wasn’t really kid friendly so we parked the boys in the lobby with their iPads while we watched the movie outside – Mom, don’t panic, we weren’t even 20 feet away and we could actually talk to them through the screened door! I had to cut my Movie Monday short because Logan was coughing a lot and I knew it was now time to put them both to bed, so I will never know how Dazed and Confused ends. At least I now know where Matthew McConaughey’ alright, alright, alright quote comes from, which was definitely the best part of the movie.
Next morning we woke up bright and early and got ready for the beach. We got some delicious lattes’ from Miss Lily’s Cafe and then we made the short drive to Sandbanks. The boys decided that we would be going to The Dunes Beach, because there’s a Mario Bros level in French called something like the dunes… so yep, we’re now visiting places because of Mario Bros (that’s life with boys). We had been told that the water was still high and it was, which made getting to the dunes a bit tricky but oh so awesome! We were almost alone when we got there so we scored a great spot. We had fun building a pool for the fishies that we catched, played a bit of football and had an amazing time swimming. All of us except Brian who HATES the beach and the sand. But we did win him over after a little while and I believe he actually had a great time. After a few hours at the beach, we decided to pack up and start visiting some wineries.
We were starving so we decided to head out to Norman Hardie Winery and Vineyard for some wooden oven pizza and some wine tasting. The property was amazing and so was the pizza. The boys played on a trampoline and Brian had a few tastings while I enjoyed the scenery. After that, we visited Casa Dea’s Winery, which was right in front. So Brian enjoyed another wine tasting while I sat and relaxed watching the boys having a great time playing chess on a large outdoor set.
We then visited PEC Lavender. I still haven’t visited my beloved Maison Lavande this year so I was super stoked to get the chance to visit a lavender farm. It smelled heavenly. We were almost alone in the fields and it was just the best. The boys had fun running and playing hide and seek across the lavender field while we enjoyed some Lavender Gelato on the Adirondack chairs. It was great to just sit and relax a bit after such a jam packed day. I would definitely recommend everyone to stop at PEC Lavender in between two wineries if you go to PEC.
Not too far away was Closson Chase Winery, my favorite winery of our tour – and I say this basically due to the gorgeous purple barn on site, as I didn’t tasted a single drop of wine on our trip. I also loved their outside patio area and the presentation of the wine tasting, while Brian really liked both of their Chardonnay. I truly recommend a visit there right after you’ve been to PEC Lavender. By then, the boys were getting a little tired and luckily for them there were some hammock style swings close to the outdoor patio where we were. They spent the entire time there in the hammock and they loved it. I keep on mentioning what the boys did at each of our stops because I know some of you might hesitate to bring your kids to PEC, as it may seems more like an adult style destination, but throughout our trip we felt that our kids were welcomed everywhere we went, and we know they had a great time following us, because as I said earlier, they didn’t asked for the iPad once! So don’t hesitate, book your PEC trip and bring the kids with you!
We had kept the Kinsip House of Fine Spirits for last. Brian’s expectations were like really high for this place. When we got there he seemed to be as excited about Kinsip as he is every time we visit his beloved Beau’s Brewery. So he did multiple tastings while chatting with the friendly staff at the outside tasting bar. Apparently people have to go through a long line-up during the weekends to get to the tasting bar, but it was Tuesday afternoon, and we basically had the place to ourselves. So Brian stayed at the bar, talking to the staff member for like an hour, tasting what seems to be all of their fine spirits, then bought some whisky as well as a t-shirt, which means that Kinsip did not disappoint and truly met all of his expectations. Like, as soon as he came back with a t-shirt, I knew it, cause all he usually wears are his Beau’s tee, so for him to get a t-shirt there, I knew he was totally impressed with the place! The staff was so friendly and very interesting to listen to. I don’t drink but I love their bottles. They definitely have the best bottle designs. I also loved the feel of the place, while Brian loved their fine spirits. You absolutely have to visit Kinsip, that’s all I have to say. So I spent most of my time enjoying the patio, watching the kids and the loose chickens running around the farm. Then I had the best BBQ plate ever! Guess what, I was getting a little hungry, and lucky me, right there in Kinsip’s garden you’ll find Big Mike’s BBQ Smokehouse, which is to die for! No fine spirits for me but definitely the best beef brisket in town. All that while the boys made some new friends and built some sort of fort in the wooden area. They were running back and forth to grab some pieces of meat and then back to the fort! Kinsip was our favorite and the best way to end this wonderful afternoon.
We ended our day with dinner at The County Canteen, and it was soooo good! Probably the best mussels we ever had. We had a great spot on the patio, watching all the tourist walk around the Main Street. But we were all tired from our day that we decided to head back to The June for an early night. We missed Rosé O’Clock but we still had drinks in the lobby and on the patio, while the boys were playing nearby.
Our time at The June was coming to an end, but we still managed to enjoy our last evening there by playing a few games of cards before it was time to call it a night! Next morning we took like what seemed to be a few hundreds more pictures and then packed up our car to get ready to leave for our next stop of our road trip. Liam and I took one last picture in front of the lobby before it was time to hand back our number 6 retro key with a heavy heart. Leaving a place where you share such awesome memories is always hard for our emotional crew, and this time was no different.
We had the best time at The June and I can’t wait to visit you again, hopefully next time with my girlfriends! So June, this is not a goodbye… this is a see you soon!
Summer is flying by and so was Loggy’s Birthday! Our sweet boy turned 7 last week and my heart wanted to split open at the thought of not having a baby anymore… but seeing how excited he was to turn a year older overnight was so much fun, that it actually outshined the heartbreak.
He had been talking about his Pokémon birthday since January, and this one is really into it Bday theme and decorations, so I can’t tell you how many times we scrolled through Pinterest searching for fun themed ideas, games, décor, and of course, cakes!
So if your kid is going to school and was born during the summer, I’m sure you had to deal with the same struggles as I did trying to organize a friends Bday party late July. My first mistake was definitely to send the invitation the last week of school… yeah, I know! Some did not respond, some were going away on vacation, while some others had to cancel at the last minute. But that didn’t stop our boy from having a great time and enjoying his party with the 3 out of 8 friends that did show up! Next year, I’m either sending the invitation way earlier or I’m throwing his party in June before the school ends! We’ll see.
He wanted some Pikachu balloons, so instead of buying a pack of ten Pikachu balloons, I decided to actually make a huge Pokémon out of regular balloons. It looked awesome but I had to blow what feels like a million yellow balloons to get there! Still, totally worth it! I also made a few Pokémon cakes, scotch taped way too many Pokémon cards to the wall, as well as hid Poke Balls and plush Pokémon everywhere in the house for the treasure hunt. For lunch, we had a delicious Poke Ball pizza (huge THANKS to Jumbo Pizza in Rockland!), some Pokémon pops and cookies, as well as Charmander cake with a real fire-burning tail!!!
We also hosted a family party later on that day and just like it seems to happen EVERY YEAR on Logan’s Birthday, a severe thunderstorm hit us. I swear, every time we celebrate this kid we have rain. But rain never stopped us and him from having a great time, so we continued the party inside and had more delicious food and fun!
I’m not big on quotes and stuff like that, but a few months ago, I read this one quote online that got to me, as all I could picture while reading it was this face he makes that I love so much. “My dear one, the truth about you is that you are magic, love and light. You shine so bright you make this big beautiful world a little more wonderful. Do me a favour? Never stop shining your light.”
Hope you had the best birthday ever my Loggy Bunny! We are the lucky ones that got to “Catch” you! You truly are magic, love and light. Love you madly. Happy Birthday baby boy.
Camp Woods 2019 is in full swing! This home based summer camp tradition has started about 4 years ago, back when Liam started to go to school and I started to spend every summer with them. They don’t get to go to regular summer camp, so I decided to bring summer camp to our place as a way to keep them busy. It’s a lot of fun for them, it’s sometimes a lot of groundwork for me, but they love it, so I play along. (If you’ve been following me or know me, then you know that I actually love it probably as much as they do!)
They both love to have some sort of organized schedule as part of their regular day to day, so I do the same for the summer camp, where every week has a different theme that they choose (that I choose!), with various activities that they really want to do (mostly that I really want to do!).
My kids love the fact that this camp doesn’t require a backpack, which makes it different than a regular school day, but what they love the most about it is that they have to stay home for a full week and still be entertained! They really like spending time together at home… and for the first few weeks of summer, after a long school year, I’m definitely okay with that as well, but later this summer, I will for sure force them to get out and go for some other type of activities, like museum, mini-putt, water slides, movies, etc.
Oh, guess what, it’s been a long school year for me as well, so at some point I will need a break from having them running around the house all day as well and will send them on sleepovers for a few days at my mom’s or will tell them to call their Gra-Gra (Brian’s mom) to ask if they can go camping with her. She will for sure say yes! But for now, the activities are non-stop and we can’t get enough of it.
We LOVE themes and we usually decide them on weekly basis. And then we do everything possible around that theme, like crafts, outings, recipes and activities. We are never short on what to do next!
Week 1 was obviously Toy Story. We’ve been hard core fans since forever and whether we like it or not, Toy Story always seems to find us! Like Woody was Liam’s first favorite toy, then it became their favorite movie, then we found a mint Buzz for like 2$ at a garage sale, etc. But my favorite Toy Story memory will always be the one where Logan was chosen as the honorary Sheriff of the Park in Disneyland back when we visited Disney California in 2016. Still can’t believe he was chosen on that day. I still remember asking them ‘’so how many kids get picked like that every day?’’ thinking that they would say 50 or 100… but no, one, only one gets picked and Logan got to be the one! We were so happy for him, and for us as well as we got fast passes to every ride and had reserved seating (like the best seats in the house) for the nightly show. This made our Disney trip truly magical as we had the best day ever, all that while Logan was proudly wearing his golden sheriff star! No wonder he likes that cowboy so much now!
So for our first week of Camp Woods, we had to go see TS4 at the drive-in on the very first day of our summer vacation, and God, will I ever regret that decision. I don’t think I would have had been able to not go see the TS4 movie, but I kind of wish I hadn’t. I wasn’t expecting my vacation to start with such a meltdown. The boys loved it while I’m still unsure about how I feel about it. I don’t think I will ever come close to crying for a kid movie like I did at the end of TS3, but man, that goodbye scene in TS4 was gut wrenching. SPOILER ALERT: Like, I knew Woody loved Bo, I could see that in the first movie, but for Christ’s sake, did he really love her that much? What about your family, man??? Not sure when I’ll be ready to see the movie again… I kind of wish they would have ended it with TS3 where they made me bawl like a cow just before they made my heart so happy. I know you will still watch it, but all you adults have been warned, you may regret not leaving it at movie number 3!
Of course we had a great time at the Drive-In with my sister in law and their cousin Nini. I can’t actually recall the last time the boys laughed that loudly at a movie, but again, the ending… well, my cousin Isabelle said it best in Instagram after she saw the movie: come on Woody, #brosbeforehoes!!! The only thing I would change about that hashtag is #brosbeforeboes!
So we decided to make a few TS inspired craft the following week. We made some slinky dogs, a few aliens’ plates, we crafted a Forky, the new TS4 friend, as well as some Ducky and Bunny cupcakes. All while watching the first 3 movies at home all week long.
On week 1 we’ve also spent a lot of time in the pool, played a few round of Chutes and Ladders, as well as many games of our family favorite, Bingo!!! It was a great week filled with great memories as well as some random thought of ‘’y tho Woody, why?’’. FYI – I should get over it eventually, probably about right after I go see Frozen 2.
Week 2 and 3 is/will be all about Harry Potter. I won’t lie to you, HP and Disney are pretty much sending me straight to bankruptcy. I mean, come on… 7 new HP Lego sets are coming out this summer. You’ve got to be kidding me. Like, are they expecting me not to buy them all??? Duh! So I’m pretending they’re for my kids and I feel less guilty when I buy them!
We have a tradition where we have to watch all of the movies every summer, and I just can’t wait to go through movie 1 to 8 in only a few days with them! Liam loves it as much as I do. He loves Harry and Sirius Black so much, while Logan, of course, loves Malfoy and Nagini! Liam has started reading the first book and I’m so proud of him. A big change for him, no pictures and a million tiny words, but he’s pretty excited and I am too.
We’ve crafted some washcloth owls and made some wands out of pens, I’ve got some games lined up for them; so I’d say we’re definitely ready to watch the movies now. I’ve got a great idea for a movie tent to build for our movie marathon, so we’re probably going to be very busy the next few days – all that while being dressed up in our Hogwarts robes, of course!
I will keep on sharing our Camp Woods activities on my Insta Stories, so follow along. Hope you will have a blast this summer, I know we will!
First, I want to say how sorry I am for having gone MIA. No excuses, just life happening a bit too fast, and with the end of the school year, I felt a bit overwhelmed. But I’m back, with so much to share! I know I haven’t finished posting about our last Florida trip. I have a “Best of Disney” coming up and then a full-on, over the top Wizarding World of Harry Potter post that will be way to long but nevertheless amazing!
But let’s start with a summer dish/meal to kick off the season. I feel like it took a full extra month to get the summer started, but now that we’re right in the midst of it, all I wanna do is spending time outside, either on our backyard deck or in the pool, while eating light and refreshing food.
We have so many BBQs and family gatherings lined up, and you probably do as well, so next time you want to prepare something quickly, you need to try this one! This summery Greek Salad is simple to make, with no cooking, and it takes no-time at all, which means you can spend more time entertaining your guests instead of making a mess in the kitchen!
I’ve already made this a couple of times in the last few weeks and I can’t get enough. Perfect with burgers or grilled chicken breast. Or serve it on top of leafy greens for a light and delicious lunch. So, I’ll stop raving about this recipe and let you go fetch your veggies and prep this baby up.
You probably have most of the ingredients on hand, so make it tonight and it will become your go-to summer recipe. It’s full of veggies so you can indulge on more ice cream after dinner! Happy summer my friends!
Back when I first started to plan our 2019 Walt Disney World family trip, I wasn’t sure if we would be visiting Epcot. We were going to be in Orlando only for a week and the original plan was to visit three of the four parks, leaving Epcot out. Then, while looking out for some online deals, I found out about the Canadian resident special, where you buy tickets for 3 parks and get a 4th one for free… which pretty much settled the deal for me! So just like that we were going to Epcot as well which made me very happy!
I won’t lie, it’s never been my favorite park. The rides aren’t up my alley, and I always felt, when compared to the other parks, that it was lacking a little bit of magic. But when I started to look for what not to miss at that park, now that we were going, I realized that we were visiting during the Garden and Flower Festival, which got me quite excited about our day around the world at Epcot!
We had a few ups and downs during this visit at Epcot but I’m still super glad we closed the loop on the Disney Parks and visited all four during our trip.
It was our third straight days of hitting the parks but we still managed to get to Epcot pretty early. It was our last Disney Park as well as our last day in Orlando, so even if we were all tired, we were all very happy to be there. First, I really want to tell you all about what happened while going through the security gate in the morning. So you know, before entering any park, you have to open all the bags and basically tear apart your stroller… well, while I was re-packing the first back pack, the security guard asked me if I had visited Animal Kingdom the day before. So I said ‘’yes, I did’’… and he told me that he was at Animal Kingdom the day before and could clearly remember going through my purse at the security line! I burst laughing, as I couldn’t believe it; of all the purses in Disney, this guy really had a thing for my awesome 20$ purse from Wish! Here’s a link from my mother’s day gift list if you ever want one: WISH STRAW PURSE
As soon as we made it into the park, my first impression was simply WOW! The scenery from the freshly planted flowers and garden everywhere was gorgeous. The first flower bed was huge and filled with butterfly topiaries, perfect for some beautiful pictures as it was right under the Epcot sphere.
A few minutes into the park, we decided to split right away to let Brian’s crew to go for some rides while I went with the boys to visit Baymax, Joy and Sadness, Goofy, as well as Mickey and Minnie. I love meet and greet, I feel like we should have done more, but some of these lines are pretty long, so we only did the ones the boys really wanted to do. I love when the characters take a moment to chat a little and have fun with the kids, but at the same time, I get it, you know, the wait time is already brutal, so if they’d spend one more minute per kid, it wouldn’t end!
It was now time for my first ride of the day, and Logan and I were in heaven when we rode The Seas with Nemo and Friends. This ride is so cute and when you walk out you are greeted with huge aquariums. We loved it.
All day long, everywhere we’d go, we were surrounded by beautiful garden and flower beds. It was gorgeous. Also, Epcot has new play/rest areas where kids can play and run safely while the parents may sit for a bit. We visited two of them and were absolutely over the moon for them. Days are long at the park and we’re always telling them to hold hands, stay close, sit here, stand there, be quiet, wait in line… but when they were playing in these areas, they were free from all the rules, and they ran, and climbed, and laughed and had so much fun playing with each other. These areas were filled with veggies, fruits, herbs, plants and lots and lots of flowers, with comfy chairs all around for parents to sit and relax. I honestly think it was the best hour I spent at Epcot that day, relaxing while the boys were having fun with all of the other kids. What a great idea. ‘’All that’s missing is a margarita bar’’ Brian said when he joined us there for a few minutes!
We started our tour around-the-world while being very hungry, which made things a bit more complicated. All of our friends that travelled to Disney in the last few years had told us ‘’leave the kids at the house and go to Epcot alone to do the around-the-world showcase; have a drink at every country and I swear you’ll have the best time ever’’. THAT was not our experience. I’m sure it’s great when you do this as adults, grabbing a bite here and there with a few drinks along the way, but the reality is that even though there’s a lot to eat, picky little eaters aren’t that impressed with fancy seafood or raw meat dishes. Many of our friends told us that Epcot was their fav, but it isn’t my fav, far from it. I wish Brian would bring me back there right now, ‘as adults’, so it would become my fav as well!!! But he told me I wasn’t allowed to ask about Disney for at least another 2 years (cause he’s so boring sometime) *eyes rolling*
I/me and the kids actually had a meltdown in England as we were getting hungry and it was getting pretty hot outside. What’s funny is that I/me and not the kid actually had a similar meltdown at the exact same spot five years ago. Brian was very happy to remind me of it! Maybe that’s why I’m not allowed to talk about Disney for another 2 years!
So right there we split to allow everyone to have exactly what they wanted to have for lunch. To be fair, I have to say that the park is so much better than I remembered from 5 years ago, but I think it still misses something like a McDonald somewhere between Canada and the USA, so my kids could eat chicken nuggets and be full and happy like I was after my fancy cheese plate with a demi-baguette and a butter croissant in France!
After lunch, we regrouped and visited the rest of the showcases, Jojo met Snow White, her favorite Disney princess, the boys met Ana and Elsa, Brian and friends found a margarita bar in Mexico, where we met with Donald and took some funny pictures.
One of my favorite part of Epcot is definitely Norway. Frozen was the boys’ favorite movie from age 2 to 4, but not so much anymore. Yet, let me tell you that they were very excited when we met Ana and Elsa… and not so much because we were actually meeting them, but because Ana started to talk to them in French, which made their day! Also, the new Frozen ride is the best. So glad we had Fast Passes for it, because the 2-hour wait time would have probably made it not my favorite part of the park! They apparently modernised an older ride and adapted it into Frozen, and I have to say they did an awesome job at it. I never rode the previous ride before, so I had no clue what to expect, but it was as beautiful as it was exciting and thrilling!
Then, we walked towards Mexico where there was a Mariachi band playing the Coco soundtrack. I couldn’t stop listening to them. And then Miguel came out and all I could do was scream to the boys that Miguel was here. I was wayyyyy more into it than they were, even though they truly LOVE the Coco movie. I have to say that I might have cried a little while watching the Coco mariachi playing band. Logan had been wanting to see ‘Donald Mexico’ all day, as he called him. We were super lucky to meet him as we found him while there was almost no one in line. Donald was so much fun. He even made a few jokes with the boys. Logan was obsessed. The pictures of Donald Mexico are his favorites of the entire trip. By then it was very hot outside, but luckily, Mexico has the best gazebo by the water! So we found some great seats, ordered some nachos and guac, beers and margs and sat in the shades for a little while. It was nice to sit down, and enjoy some food by the water and just relax a little. Definitely one of the best spot in Epcot!
We then split again while I visited Ralph and Vaneloppe, played some more in the kid’s area and rode The Land, an interesting ride about our planet Earth, while Brian went and did the Test Track and a few other rides.
Our last Fast Pass was for Soaring, which was one of everyone’s favorite ride 5 years ago in Orlando as well as 2 years ago in California. The Fast Pass was not for another hour though, so Brian and his sister decided to walk back across the lake to Italy in order to place some reservations at the Via Napoli Pizzeria. Once they arrived, the maître d’hôtel didn’t take their reservation since the 12 of us weren’t there with him ready to eat. The wait time was well over 90 minutes and we would have all made it there easily in time… but no, it didn’t work, no reservations for us that evening. It was our favorite restaurant the last time we went to Disney World and I really wanted to eat there again. But not this time! So they walked back to us, got a margarita on the way, told us about the reservation, which actually got me pretty bummed. We then did Soaring, and while everyone kept on talking about how they remembered it from last time, I couldn’t really get it as this was going to be my first time. I kind of knew what I was getting into, and was a bit worried as I often get afraid of heights, but I have to say that I really enjoyed it. Sadly, Soaring was our last ride of the trip. (Insert tears ride here)
After we did Soaring, I was still mad (I was pissed!!!) that our diner plans had fell apart, I was sad that we were done with the rides, I was hungry, we still had nowhere to go for dinner, and the fireworks were about to start in less than an hour. I can guarantee you that this is usually a great combination for another adult meltdown at the park! But I did held it together and we found this place called The Umbrella, where they serve chicken fingers and burgers. Definitely not the amazing and memorable meal we had planned to have on our last day, but… well, I guess it was actually somewhat memorable as we will probably never forget the fast-food we had at The Umbrella on our last day! Oh well, I was about to realize that there are worst thing in life than this… like not getting a good spot for fireworks. Yep… we had all the time in the world to find a good spot, but no, we were stuck behind some cedar trees and a store. We could see the higher ones, just not what was happening below. I still managed to cry, and Logan too. He was a hot mess by the end; tired and emotional… just like me.
After the last firework disappeared in the sky, that’s when it hit me. It was truly time to say goodbye. Definitely my least favorite moment at Disney. It was hard. With more tears. More emotions. More I want to stay. More when are we coming back. More love from watching the boys being filled with all the Disney magic, but also more sadness knowing this will never be the same as they are growing up so fast. More love than sadness though, for sure. I am so happy we visited Epcot.
So we left the park with our hearts full. What an amazing trip. And like the Genie says: “Today’s special moments are tomorrow’s memories.” And we are definitely left with a lots of those – unforgettable memories.
I’ve always knew I would love to be a Mom, but what I didn’t anticipated is how much I would. Maybe except for the lack of sleep here and there, the regular crawling into my bed at 3am and all the worrying about school, friends, and what’s going to happen at the teenage years! But overall, it’s so much more than what I could have ever hoped for! Which makes me appreciate my mom even more!
You know how I love celebration, and thinking about my mom and my boys, I have to say that for me it doesn’t really get any better than celebrating motherhood! So here’s my Mother’s Day Gift Guide, for all the amazing moms in your life!
1-Ciao Bella shoes: I’m totally in love with the Soludos brand. Their shoes are so cute and fun. These would be a great Mother’s Day gift for sure!
2-Straw purse: Got this purse for our Disney vacation and I can’t believe how many people asked me where I got it! I lied a few time, but the truth is that it’s from Wish! You can wear it with everything. I will be using it all summer long. And you and your Mom should too!
3-Anthro Latte Matte Bowls: These are my favorite bowls and they are now available in matte colours. Mixed them up, colour coordinate your kitchen and get ready for upcoming holidays! I guarantee you that your cereals will taste better with these.h
4-Kate Spade Mom bracelet: This delicate bracelet is giving me all the feels. Isn’t it perfect? Wish my two babies had enough money in their piggy bank to get me this for Mother’s Day.
5-Aqua Tote: A mom can NEVER have too many bags. Men, if there’s one thing you absolutely need to know about women, it’s this! Love this Indigo Tote for everyday use. Big enough to store everything y1ou need plus a bag of wipes, a baggies of fishies, an iPad, some stickers and an extra sweater just in case
6-Instax: You know you want one. And this Mother’s Day is the perfect excuse to ask for one. Retro, cute and so much fun! If only the films weren’t so expensive. But YOLO!
7-SMEG Espresso Machine: “I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it!” Well, Arianna, it really doesn’t work like that in my world… but I’m still putting it on the list as the ultimate Mother’s Day Gift! Would love to get this one so bad. This may even be the next impulsive purchase I make!!!
9-Essential Oils: Every Mama needs essential oils. Get her a Young Living Starter Kit and she will thank you for ever. I swear. Talk about a gift that keeps on giving. Everyone wants a healthier and safer lifestyle. Why not give it to her. Let me know if you want to know more about essential oils or if you would like to order a kit for the world’s best mom in your life!
10-Rings: My favorite items on this list! I already have these and you should too. I’m a sucker for monograms, and when I saw these rings, I just knew they were meant for me. I got the boys’ name stamped on 1mm rings and I can’t take them off. Super delicate and discreet, yet I can’t stop looking at them.
This is the best Mother’s Day gift list you will find, but the very best way to celebrate your mom is by spending time with her and never stop finding ways to make new memories. The rest is just a cherry on top! Happy Mother’s Day to all of you moms.
After a break from all the Disney magic on Tuesday, Wednesday was the day we were visiting Animal Kingdom, my favorite park during our last family trip and still my favorite one this time around. It’s kind of weird for me to admit that Magic Kingdom is not my favorite park anymore, as it definitely was (and it was by far!!!) when I was a kid. The castle still makes me cry, from the moment I see it walking in in the morning to the moment I see it walking out at night, but Animal Kingdom has something different to offer, not sure if it’s the surroundings, the nature, the animals, or the overall vibe, but it’s simply the best.
Since we didn’t have any Fast Passes booked that morning, we decided not to rush out the door and had planned to get to the park a little later, at about 9:30 rather than our usual 8:30 from the first two parks. Big mistake!!! First, we had to wait 20 minutes in the parking lot before we could get on one of the trams that gets you to the park. Then, after we made it to the park, the line went on forever to get inside. To make matters worse, the waiting time for Avatar’s Flight of Passage, the ride everyone most wanted to do, was already at 195 minutes when we got there. Well, as much as I wanted to do it, there’s no way I was gonna wait over 3 hours when I just got to the park with so many things I want to do and see. Oh, and with two kids in tow, I wasn’t willing to risk my sanity that early in the morning for a ride! But my father-in-law did! More on that later!
The first ride we did after splitting up was It’s Tough to Be a Bug, which is a fun an entertaining 3D show based on the Bug’s Life movie. We all loved the show, as well as the waiting line to get there, which brings you around, beside, through and under the Tree of Life. I have to say that I am in awe for the Tree of Life, as it’s as beautiful as it gets. Looking at it simply makes me happy, and makes me want to be a better person, and live better, and do greater things, does that make any sense? So as much as I love it, someone loves it even more than I do. If I’m in awe for it, Brian is like next level in awe for it. Most of the pictures or selfies you’ll see from the two of us come from me saying something like ‘hey, let’s take a selfie’. But this time around, he’s the one who asked me ‘hey, can we take a selfie here’. And I’m glad he did, as I think this ended up being one of our best pictures of the entire trip.
After that, while my father-in-law was still not even close to being halfway through the Avatar waiting line, we split up even more, with half of us going on one side for Primeval Whirl and Expedition Everest, and the other half going towards Triceratop Spin (a Dumbo-like ride) and the Boneyard (yeah, I was part of that half!). We ended up spending a long time in the Boneyard, letting the kids run wild. They could have easily stayed there all day long. We actually came back later on since this was all they would talk about. It’s the perfect spot to sit and rest, while letting them have fun running, climbing or going down slides.
So far the day was simply perfect, with some of the best weather to visit a park; a beautiful day, something like 25 degrees Celsius, sunny, with no clouds in sight, but not too hot either. By about 1:30pm, we were starting to get hungry, so we had a quick lunch at Flame Tree BBQ and then met up with Brian’s crew to get ready for our Kilimanjaro Safari, as we all had fast passes for that ride. Like I said earlier in the post, my father-in-law had decided to do the Avatar ride at about 10:30am, and at 2:45pm we finally heard back from him when he texted us that he was next in line. So what was supposed to be a 195 minutes wait actually ended being a 260 minutes wait. Yep, they waited over 4 hours for the ride. They explained that once it was almost their turn, after like 3 hours, something happened, like the ride broke, and then they had to wait almost another hour before they would start it up again. BUT, at least, they got in and then both said it was the best ride ever! They were really impressed by it and told us we should definitely come back later that day to try it, as it was totally worth the wait. Well, I’ll tell you right away that we ended up not doing it later on as the wait time was still over 3 hours when we came back, which is way too long of a wait for kids like mine; especially when they were asking every 15 minutes about the Boneyard where there was actually no waiting line. I would have had a tough time trying to explain that one for 3 hours. Next time for sure, though!
By mid-afternoon, it was time for my favorite ride of the park, the Kilimanjaro Safari. You know you are an over enthusiastic Disney fan when you’d prefer to do the ride in loop rather than going for the real thing in Africa! This ride is simply the best. Actually, thinking about it, it almost makes me want to plan a trip to Africa just to enjoy the sceneries and watch the animals a little bit longer. I truly wish it would have lasted a longer, as it just went by so quickly. I just googled the length of the safari, and it’s actually 22 minutes, which is longer than I thought. We saw so many animals, spotting a few special or rare ones I think. Liam was ecstatic when he finally saw some crocodiles, as he had been looking for one everywhere we’d go ever since we made it to Orlando. Well, of course he was looking, as Brian had told him that we very may see one in Florida, maybe even in our backyard pool. Way to go Brian! So there was like at least ten of them, and you could see that this was too much joy for Liam, telling me ‘‘the crocodiles, there… mommy, look, the crocodiles, take a picture, please, take one… have you taken a picture?’’ with his little over-excited voice. I was so happy for him to finally see a live one. And then, out of nowhere, my 14 years old nephew told us that the ride was fun but that it would be even better if the animals were real. We all looked at each other, wondering if he was kidding, and then all burst out laughing! We were halfway through the ride and all along he thought the animals were fake… we told him they were real, but he still had doubts, that is until we got stuck there for a few minutes as 2 rhinos were blocking the path. They were so close to us we could have probably touched them (apparently it would have been a very bad idea) if we would have wanted! Writing this… I’m bawling. Not because the rhinos scared me or anything, but because I just wish I could go back there, at Animal Kingdom, with my boys, and re-live that day all over again.
We then had two more things to do, first was to go to the Asia section of the park to recreate one of my favorite picture ever, and then to make our way into Pandora’s, the new Avatar land, where we had fast passes for the Na’vi River ride. So we got to Asia, got Liam’s picture in front of the same blue door as in 2014, then stopped for some margaritas, and then made our way to Pandora. The first thing you see is that gigantic rock hanging thing from the movie, which is breathtaking. The boys (and Brian) still haven’t seen the movie, so they didn’t really understood what Pandora was all about, but I have to say that it’s simply beautiful, and clearly a must see, whether you’ve seen the movie or not; there’s nothing quite like it. I actually wish we would have had more than one day to explore everything, so that way I would have had plenty of time to spend wander around the park and do Flight of Passage. So we were in Pandora to ride the Na’vi River, which is an It’s a Small World type of ride, with colours that are simply out of this world. The blend of the flowers, the music, the neon colours everywhere and the kind of jellyfish floating around us was wonderful.
After we were done with the Na’vi River, we had used all of our Fast Passes for the day, done all the rides we wanted to do (except the other Avatar ride), seen the Nemo musical, ate too much Mickey shaped ice-cream bars and popcorn, they had drank enough margaritas to keep themselves hydrated, so we decided to call it a day. A decision I now fully regret! For one, I forgot to buy my Starbucks park mug. I can’t believe I forgot about it. I got one from each park except Animal Kingdom, my favorite one. Seriously, I was so pissed about it when I realized I had actually forgotten to buy it, I cried. Second, I’m a rope drop to fireworks kinda gal and we didn’t even get to watch the night show. And finally, I definitely didn’t take enough pictures (for my taste) on that day.
But you know what, I had a great time at Animal Kingdom, and at the end of the day, being with our family on this trip was the very best. It’s not about where you go or what you do (or the mugs you buy!), but it’s about who you share these moments with. And spending some time with my mom was the best. Animal Kingdom was her favorite too and for the boys to spend so much time with her, throughout the day and the entire week, it was just awesome.
So, as soon as I’m done telling you about our days at the different parks we visited (next will be Epcot), I will be posting a list of all the things you absolutely have to do at Disney, with our favorite rides, what to skip, the best meals we got, the best shows, etc., and guess what will be at the top of the list? Animal Kingdom. If you go to Orlando or Disney, you absolutely have to go to Animal Kingdom. It’s a MUST. And while you’re there, could you PLEASE get me a Starbucks mug?!!!