new year’s eve sleigh ride

I am usually not a fan of NYE.  You know, I never seem to know what to do, years after years wishing for a big elaborate and elegant party like they have in the movies… but always ending up half asleep before midnight wearing my pajamas!  I remember that my parents had fabulous parties when I was younger, sequins party dress, suits and an amazing time.  We did have those types of NYE parties at the Golf and Curling Club in Hawkesbury in the early 2000s, but after a few years of hearing Jive Bunny as first song of the party, we decided to call it quit!  And to be honest, I love to be with Liam and Logan on New Year’s Eve, so it’s kinda hard to go somewhere fancy and hope to party like a Rock Star while having them there with me.  So this year, we’ve tried something different, trying to create a new family and friends tradition… and we did, and it was the best NYE in a very long time!

We’ve been living in a suburb of Ottawa for 9 years, and every day on my way to work I drive across a Sleigh Ride sign maybe 10 minutes from home.  I always loved sleigh rides, and I thought it would be a fun family thing to do this winter, so I called to book a NYE sleigh ride a couple weeks ago, but they were already full for that day.  Which made me want to go (on that day) even more!  So I called again on the 29th, just to see, and guess what… they finally had an opening for the 31st at 3pm; so I booked it right away.  I’ve been on a few sleigh rides when I was a kid, but this one…it was just MAGICAL.

The sleigh can hold 15 people, so the first thing I did was to call my friends to inform them that they now had plans on the 31st… cause I already knew that just like us, they probably had nothing to do on NYE but spending the day in their pajamas with their kids… and I was right, so we now had exciting plans for NYE.  YES!

So there was a huge snow storm in Ottawa on the 31st… and when we got to the Beckett’s Creek Farms in Cumberland, it was just gorgeous with the snow falling, the huge old barns and the two big beautiful horses and wooden sleigh waiting for us.  We were ready for our ride, with, of course, some hot chocolate for our crew.  The kids were happy, but I was ecstatic!  Once we got on the sleigh it was breathtaking.  We rode in the most gorgeous forest.  I know I just said that it was breathtaking and now I am going to say that it took my breath away, but the scenery really did took our breath away.  Sometimes it was silent, with just the sound of horses pulling the old sleigh, sometimes we were singing along with the kids or just taking about how gorgeous it was. Middle of nowhere, huge snowflakes slowly falling on us, signing and laughing all the way through.

Half way, we stopped in a clearing of trees for 10 minutes; nobody but us.  We took some pictures, the kids made snow angels and threw a few snowballs.  Brian poured some hot cocoa for everyone and then took out his Beau’s New Lang Syne beer; we then got back on the sleigh and made our way back to the farm while enjoying our favorite drinks!

One hour sleigh ride full of smiles and laughs and pictures and memories; it was just priceless.  We couldn’t believe how lucky we were to spend our day together in this wonderful place.  As a side note, this year will be the last year of the Lalonde family Beckett’s Creek Sleigh Rides after doing this for many years, even going back the early 1900’s I believe.  So you can’t understand how that saddened me when I learned about it after 15 minutes in the trails while I had already made plans in my mind to do this again next year on NYE, and every other years after that.

So after the sleigh ride, everyone came back to our place, now finally all wearing our pajamas… we sat in front of the fireplace, had some drinks, some amazing snack food and my go to spaghetti and meatballs for diner, then made too many plans to count, which helped celebrate this new year and enter a new one.  The kids put on a show where they danced and sang for us; they were so proud!  But then we showed them how it was done Rock Star Style (or maybe more Celine Dion wanna be style!).  Found the craziest costumes and hats in my wardrobe, picked up a few hairbrush for microphones and before you knew it: the show must go on!  Let’s just say it was literally jaw dropping for our kids to see us perform and act crazy like we did!!!

Okay, well, I’ll talk about our singing and dancing group another time in another blog, but for now, just so you understand, we take ourselves pretty seriously when we perform!!!  And we think we’re pretty great at this, so when I say ‘act crazy’, it was more like a pretty spectacular NYE performance by The Whiskettes (even minus 2 key members and without any type of rehearsal)… Nothing like the Mariah Carey disaster in Times Square happening at the same time!

So we made it till midnight, cheered to the new year and wished each other only the best!  You know, I get why 2016 was a bad year for many, but 2016 was great to me and to our family.  We traveled, celebrated, spent times with the ones we love, made new friends, smiled a lot, and finally I got to create this blog!  So 2017, you’ve got big shoes to fill and I am ready for you.

Happy New Year everyone.  Santé, Bonheur et Succès.

 

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beau’s oktoberfest

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2016 Beau’s Oktoberfest: what a weekend!

Where to begin, or where to stop?  There’s so much I’d like to say.  I’d like to go on and on and tell you every little detail about our so much fun first weekend of Fall… but let’s not talk too much about the I-had-too-much-to-drink stories from my friends and husband, and let me go through my very own experience!

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So, for the second year in a row, Brian and I attended Beau’s Oktoberfest in Vankleek Hill.  Definitely one of our favorite weekend of the year; last year in a cold weekend of October, and this year in a great September/Fall weekend.  We met lots and lots of people, friends and family over the 2 day-Craft beer festival.  It amazes me how many people attended; the Vankleek Hill Fairground seemed to be at full capacity by Saturday afternoon, filled with interesting people, so many wearing Lederhosen or fun costumes, thousands wearing green feathered hat, with all of them holding their Beer Steins, well of course, all of them except me!

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For those who don’t know, I don’t drink beer, not at all, nor any other types of booze, so some people may be wondering why I was so excited to spend my weekend with drunk people, and what was I looking forward to at this all-you-can-drink-fest?  Well let me tell you one thing, there are plenty of reasons why I just love Beau’s Oktoberfest!!!

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First, the atmosphere is amazing.  You just can’t understand until you’ve actually been there.  It’s a tiny-little-cute-and-old village hosting a really big event, it’s amazing.  We had gorgeous weather for being outside all weekend long.  But what makes this a truly unique experience, it’s that every details seem to be just perfectly thought of.  Beau’s goes above and beyond for this event: orange flags everywhere, lights, great live music’s, School of Bock, keg tossing and tug of war competitions, beautifully designed signs for everything, an awesome Midway Game tent for hours of fun (where Brian won 60$ at an illegal pichenotte game some stranger had organized on Friday night), great merchandise to buy, including Beau’s very own Beer Steins, as well as way too many different craft beers to count… but for me, my fun started with the AMAZINGLY AWESOME FOOD!

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Let me start by saying that I did not eat all that food, but I pretty much tasted everything!!!

In first place: The Hintonburg Public House seed-to-sausages-jalapeno-and-cheese-curds-smokie-corn-dog with Beau’s beer mustard!!!  I had it last year and it’s still my favorite.  I want one NOW.

Second place goes to my friend Pascale from Pascale’s All Natural Ice cream.  Everything she does is magic.  From the best hot chocolate that I drank all weekend long in my very own vintage Beer Stein to the tastiest Beer nuts ice cream on a stick.  I would love to be trap in one of her freezers!

And third place goes to Vert Fourchette.  Always decadent food, their Bavarian smoked grilled cheese with caramelized beer onions is simply crazy.  I also had their Pulled pork poutine with German ice box slaw.  So so good!

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We also shared all these next items and they are so worth mentioning: Belmont should’ve probably been in the top 3, but since I only had a bite, it’s hard to say, so let’s say we got a tie in third place!  But next year I’ll make sure to have a full one: It was called The Hot Mess.  And it was… Deep fried mac and cheese with Lug Tread gravy, crispy chicken skins and cheese curds.  I can still feel my arteries clogging after one bite, but what a great bite that was!  Urban Tandoor Indian Cuisine had great butter chicken with rice.  We also had a few Chez Piggy sausages and hot dogs.  Miam!  And Brian had the Vittoria Trattoria Fish croquette drizzled with spicy mustard sauce.  Of course no beer fest is complete without pretzels.  Two Bite Sweet, I’m not sure how you guys managed to bake so many pretzels in 2 days, but Oh Boy these are good!

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As for the Craft Beer, well I can’t say much, but let say that people around me drank PLENTY and they just LOVED it.  There’s some for everybody’s taste buds and wildest dreams.  Sometimes I wish I drank beer so I could drink Beau’s craft beer, as I love everything about this local brewery.  They have the best label art ever, a great terrace and weekend menu for everyone to enjoy, they care about our community, and of course: ‘they make the best beer ever’ Brian says.

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This weekend was the best.  Cutest hats, great people, many many cheers, and even more laughs.  We can’t wait for the 2017 Beau’s Oktoberfest.

Cheers followers!

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